Rated: R for language and sexual content. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: June 27, 2014 Released by: A24 Films
A modestly mounted story of a comedienne and unwanted pregnancy with some noxious elements turns out to be bracingly honest and witty.
Obvious Child stars Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, and Gaby Hoffman and perhaps to some could be considered a cousin to last year's winning Frances Ha, a kind of tour de force for Greta Gerwig under Noah Baumbach's supportive direction.
Here, auteur Gillian Robespierre is able to provide the framework for Slate's well-constructed fledgeling stand-up artist Donna Stern (no relation to Howard) cunningly offering sweetness from insecurity. Donna's day and nighttime prospects come crumbling down through job loss and deadbeat beau and a little partying with a nice guy (a decent Lacy of The Office) leads (in time for Valentine's Day) to how a visage can at once seem profound then immediately hopeless.
Slate shows much potential as big-screen comedic character actor from the sensitivity off of a hard-edged exterior. The despair is evident even as she makes imaginative, risqué bounds in front of an audience (maybe shades of Chelsea Handler and Kathy Griffin). Opposite her, Lacy is ideal as the one realizing the pungent reflexiveness but not the sparring partner Donna would appear to need. Hoffman has another good small role in her own right as one of Donna's cynical friends and Richard Kind and Polly Draper are less effective as Donna's divorced parents.
The scenes elucidated throughout by Robespierre serve the naturalistic foils and fulsomeness of Slate with drive and drollness render Obvious Child tenderly handling a difficult subject and should give notice to the potential of its lead and presence behind the camera.