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Obvious Child


Stars: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, David Cross, Polly Draper, Richard Kind, Gabe Liedman

Director: Gillian Robespierre

Slate is a shrill and raucous American comedienne whose first solo vehicle this is. While the film itself is okay in a bitter-sweet, New York-y kind of way, it doesn't showcase its star's 'talents' to anything like advantage. Here, at least, she just isn't very funny.

So there's a flaw at the heart of the movie, with Slate coming across as a crude, bodily-function-obsessed Jewish standup, whose boyfriend has just dumped her. When her lecturer mom tells her to 'stop telling jokes about having diarrhoea in your pants', you can't help but agree. A female Woody Allen she isn't.

Worse still for her character, the bookstore that provides her day job is closing down after yonks, and she gets pregnant on a one-night stand with a handsome stranger (Lacy) at her club.

Best friend Hoffmann (yes, the former child star) agrees with her decision to have an abortion and so, to Slate's surprise, does her mother, even if we can hardly believe her when, in the bonding session that follows, she says she can't remember a serialised book she wrote at 11 about a witch called Winks: who forgets such things?

Lacy's nice performance hits the right tone; but Slate is only occasionally able to follow his lead.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Koch Media. Colour (unspecified).
83 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 25 Aug 2014