Obvious Child (2014)

It was either December 2014 or January 2015 when I stumbled upon a BuzzFeed "article" about movies you probably missed in 2014 but are definitely worth watching; Obvious Child was one of those and, captivated by the description, I decided to watch it. The problem is that the movie was unfindable. No Italian release and it was nowhere to be found on the internet, so I forgot about it. Almost four years later, I finally found the film and, although Gaby Hoffmann being in it was the only thing I remembered about it, I watched it. 

The film follows Donna Stern (Jenny Slate), a 28-year-old part-time stand-up comedian and part-time bookstore employee who lives in New York City. After her boyfriend (Paul Briganti) dumps her for one of her friends, and she loses her job in the bookstore, she has a one-night stand with Max (Jake Lacy), and gets pregnant. When she finds out, she decides to have an abortion. There's a problem though, Max is the sweetest guy Donna has ever met and he wants more than just a one-night stand. 

Although it's definitely not the best of ideas for a romantic comedy as abortion is not something to joke about, whether you're pro-choice or pro-life, Obvious Child's story is captivating and interesting and deals with such an issue in a very respectful and serious way. As for the romantic part, which is more inclined to drama than comedy, is well handled.

Then, there's the main character, Donna. She is not the person of the year as she is self-absorbed, kind of an unpleasant person, and rude to pretty much everyone in her life, not to mention her flat comedic style —mostly sexual and toilet humour—, and yet she is somewhat relatable and easy to sympathize with. I'm sure many will argue with me and say that I was not supposed to sympathize with a grown woman being stupid and ending up pregnant with a stranger's baby, especially when she considers abortion as her only option. But, in her position, emotionally unstable and without a job, can you really blame her? And anyway, whether you think it's right or wrong, isn't it refreshing to see a woman remaining resolute in her decision, not changing her mind only because the father of the baby may still be in the picture? Also, Donna is going through quite an emotional turmoil because of her decision so I wouldn't say she decides to have an abortion carelessly.

Jenny Slate gives an incredible performance as Donna. Her comedy —or is it just the character's?— doesn't really work for me, but when it comes to conveying the character's feeling she does a wonderful job, and she is believable as the struggling comedian whose life isn't turning out the way she thought it would. Jake Lacy does a nice job as Max, and shares a beautiful chemistry with Slate, which makes the ending work well. Gaby Hoffmann as Donna's best friend, Nellie, and David Cross as Donna's comedian friend, Sam, both give a solid performance.

There's something, however, about Obvious Child that didn't really work for me, the comedy, as I mentioned above. For the most part, I just didn't find the humour to be funny at all. I did have a few laughs but a blank expression is what I had on most for most of the film's running time.


  1. Yes, our main character was a bit self-absorbed, but in some ways it was warranted so I never saw her as unlikeable. Confused, yes, but not unlikeable. I agree she earns our sympathy. Ultimately, this is what makes the film work. I did like the humor a bit better than you, but overall, our opinions are about the same.

  2. This film is available at my local library as I'm trying to find the time to see it as there's so many films to see right now.

    1. Don't tell me! There are more than 1,000 movies on my watchlist.