Even if you aren’t familiar with comedienne Jenny Slate, I
think Obvious Child will win you
over. Slate has built a considerable following during the past few years, on
television (Saturday Night Live, Parks
and Recreation, House of Lies, Bob’s Burgers) and online (Marcel the Shell with Shoes On). This
feature gives her a chance to build a rounded and likable character, and the
film’s success rests on her shoulders.
Expanding on their 2009 short subject of the same name, she
and writer-director Gillian Robespierre give us a small-scale but winning
comedy about a neurotic Brooklyn stand-up comic who finds herself pregnant
after a one-night stand with a nice guy (Jake Lacy) she’s only just met.
With amusing vignettes from a talented cast of costars,
including Gaby Hoffman, Gabe Liedman, David Cross, Richard Kind, Polly Draper,
and Paul Briganti, Obvious Child
doesn’t bite off more than it can chew and grounds its comedy in real-life
situations that are credible and well-observed. Slate’s character is insecure
and self-deprecating, but we can see that she has talent and a point of view.
It’s not hard to understand why audiences at her home-base comedy club respond
Obvious Child was
warmly received at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and deserves to find a
wider audience with its theatrical release today.