Director: Gillian Robespierre
MPAA Rating: NR
[This is a repost of our review from Sundance 2014. Obvious Child opens in select cities Friday.]
Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child is by far the funniest film about abortion I’ve ever seen. Jenny Slate’s cute as a button, yet absolutely vulgar demeanor help make this one of the most fun breakup comedies to come out in recent years.
Slate plays Donna, a standup comedian who has an explosive one night stand with a stranger she meets at a bar while recovering from a bad breakup. After becoming pregnant as a result, she decides to have an abortion and comedy ensues.
The film opens with an absolutely hilarious standup routine from Slate, which feels similar to something Sarah Silverman would do. Behind her adorable persona are jokes involving diarrhea and dirty underwear. These standup sequences are featured several times throughout the film, and even when she’s awkwardly bombing, it’s still laugh out loud funny.
Slate is wonderful as Donna. She’s never not funny, even during the most dramatic moments in the film. She’s an inherently likable character and an absolute joy to watch on the screen.
Gaby Hoffmann plays Donna’s dedicated and loving best friend Nellie, who supports her through her entire ordeal. Hoffmann is always on point with her roles and this is no exception. She’s funny, smart, and plays the caring shoulder to cry on incredibly well.
After Donna discovers she’s pregnant she makes a conscious decision to not divulge this information with the man she slept with, Max, played by Jake Lacy. Lacy plays a character similar to his role on The Office, which isn’t a bad thing. Lacy’s delivery is always funny, and his facial expressions to some of the gross things Donna says is priceless.
Richard Kind and Polly Draper play Donna’s parents, who are doting and affectionate. Both are very funny and one of the film’s more impactful scenes comes from an intimate conversation between Donna and her mother.
Although Obvious Child is technically a comedy revolving around an abortion, the script handles this very sensitive topic in a respectful way, pulling the jokes back when the plot calls for it. There’s a particularly powerful scene that occurs near the end of the film that took me by surprise and was extremely well done.
With a smart script and some great performances from both the principal cast and all the supporting players, Obvious Child will certainly be one of the best indie comedies of the year. It’s not afraid to go dark with the humor, but the witty dialogue keep things light and fun throughout the entire runtime.