Judd Apatow’s M.O. has always been to trick R-rated comedy audiences into watching movies that are sweeter, smarter, and more insightful than they were expecting. Knocked Up is a prime example of this, as we go in expecting a zany movie about a slacker man-child played by Seth Rogen getting a hot girl pregnant and having to deal with the consequences. But what we really get is a heartfelt examination of human relationships and the need to grow up. It’s an accurate representation of the reality of facing an unexpected pregnancy.
10 “Isn’t it weird how chairs exist, even when you’re not sitting on them?”
This isn’t a particularly insightful or groundbreaking musing on existentialism, but it is food for thought. It’s like the question of whether or not a falling tree makes a sound if there’s no one around to hear it. Pete’s version of that is: “Isn’t it weird how chairs exist, even when you’re not sitting on them?” Seth Rogen has a way of making every movie he’s in a stoner movie. Even if it’s not a stoner movie – whether it’s the story of an unexpected pregnancy or the story of a family being terrorized by a fraternity – he’ll make it a stoner movie.
9 “Do you ever wonder how somebody could even like you?”
Over the course of Knocked Up, we see two different couples experiencing problems. Ben and Alison have only gotten together because they’re having a baby and they hardly know each other at all, while Pete and Debbie represent the older versions of the couple who got together because of an unplanned pregnancy. At one point, Pete says, “Do you ever wonder how somebody could even like you? The biggest problem in our marriage is that she wants me around. And I can’t even accept that? I don’t think I can accept pure love.” In our own way, we can all relate.
8 “He’s playing fetch with my kids. He’s treating my kids like they’re dogs.”
Knocked Up takes a few opportunities to show us that Ben is not ready to become a father as he spends time with Pete and Debbie’s kids. As Debbie watches them play together, she realizes he’s just tossing their toys across the backyard and telling them to go get them.
She says, “He’s playing fetch with my kids. He’s treating my kids like they’re dogs.” This was the first of a few Judd Apatow movies in which his real wife and kids – Leslie Mann and Maude and Iris Apatow – play a family. The Judd Apatow proxy has been played twice by Paul Rudd and once by Eric Bana/Adam Sandler.
7 “I hope your plane crashes. Peace, f**ker!”
When Alison goes into labor, Ben is horrified to discover that the doctor they handpicked is on vacation, so he leaves him an angry voicemail: “Hey, Doc Howard, Ben Stone calling. Guess what the f**k’s up. Alison is going into labor and you are not f**king here. You know where you’re at? You’re at a f**king bar mitzvah in San Francisco, you motherf**king piece of shit, and you know what I’m gonna have to do now? I’m going have to kill you. I’m gonna pop a f**king cap in your ass. You’re dead. You’re Tupac. You are f**king Biggie, you piece of s**t! I hope you f**king die or drop the chair and kill that f**king kid. I hope your plane crashes. Peace, f**ker!”
6 “My buddy Jonah broke his elbow one time. He just smoked some weed. It still clicks, but it’s cool.”
It wouldn’t feel like a Seth Rogen movie without abundant references to marijuana. At one point in the movie, he says, “You know, the best thing for a hangover is weed. It’s a cure-all. My buddy Jonah broke his elbow one time. He just smoked some weed. It still clicks, but it’s cool.” The story of Jonah breaking his elbow and getting high to make the pain go away sounds totally plausible in the context of the movie. The whole point of this group of guys is that none of them are ready to become a father and one of them is, so that needs to be sorted out. Hence, the plot.
5 “You know how they say to never drink and drive? Well, never drink and bone.”
The pregnancy at the heart of Knocked Up is the result of a drunken one-night stand in the movie’s opening act. The crux of the movie is that these two people who really don’t know each other at all now have to build a life together and figure out a way to raise a child together and make it work. Later, when Ben is relaying the story of how the pregnancy came to be, he says, “You know how they say to never drink and drive? Well, never drink and bone.” Frankly, it’s not a bad little nugget of advice.
4 “I went where I went, all right?”
In Knocked Up, Jonah Hill plays a character named Jonah, but he’s a very different character from the version of himself that he would eventually play in This is the End. At one point, Jonah says, “Dude, I didn’t go to Yale to work 24 hours a day.”
Jason, played by Jason Segel (a lot of the characters in the movie are named after the actors playing them), tells him, “Dude, you went to a city college.” And Jonah just says, “I went where I went, all right?” We can’t all go to top-shelf colleges and sometimes, we’ll be embarrassed by that.
3 “This guy’s got twelve kids. That’s not funny.”
Midway through Knocked Up, Ben takes a road trip to Vegas with Pete and they take in a couple of shows. At one point during the night, they also take magic mushrooms, which leads to some startling revelations. Ben is freaking out that he has a kid on the way and then he watches Cheaper by the Dozen in the hotel room and it only makes him freak out more: “This isn’t funny. This guy’s got twelve kids. That’s not funny. That’s a lot of responsibility to just be laughing about. This is sick. This is a sick movie. I gotta turn this off.”
2 “Life doesn’t care about your vision. You just gotta roll with it.”
It’s no secret that Knocked Up was heavily inspired by Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann’s own unplanned pregnancy, the one that led to the birth of their daughter Maude (who is actually in the movie as a grown-up unplanned pregnancy). The late, great Harold Ramis was the perfect casting to play Ben’s dad, who guides him through his toughest times in life – which, in the events of the movie, happens to be getting a girl pregnant. When Ben tells his father that having a kid this young wasn’t how he envisaged his life, his father gives him some sage wisdom: “Life doesn’t care about your vision. You just gotta roll with it.”
1 “Marriage is like a tense, unfunny version of Everybody Loves Raymond.”
Paul Rudd’s Pete sums up the foibles of married life in a single line: “Marriage is like a tense, unfunny version of Everybody Loves Raymond, only it doesn’t last 22 minutes. It lasts forever.” This is easily the most relatable quote in the movie. Judd Apatow has referenced Everybody Loves Raymond in a bunch of his movies. In The 40-Year-Old Virgin, when David (also played by Paul Rudd) gives Andy his box of porn, he finds that he’s accidentally put an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond that he taped in there, while Ray Romano himself makes a cameo appearance in Funny People.