Tuesday, 9 September 2014

REVIEW - OBVIOUS CHILD (GILLIAN ROBESPIERRE)


The best thing about Obvious Child is that it only works if you're in on the joke. Thankfully, for me, I definitely am. Here's a movie that's ready for you only if you're ready for it, and otherwise is probably best avoided. Watching, and appreciating, it is like being a member of a great big club full of people with common sense and not-so-common good taste, unaware, due to your vast number, that there's an even more vast number of haters and naysayers and people who'll never be in on the joke because they don't even think it's a joke at all. Gillian Robespierre and Jenny Slate are preaching to the converted with Obvious Child, and not in an insufferably self-congratulatory way, but in an abrasive, challenging way. Their tactic seems to be to shun those who don't wish to be converted, and follow their instincts even if it only ends up challenging their target demographic too. A comedy that challenges, now that works for me. But, in this regard, it doesn't only work if you're in on the joke - it only works if the jokes are funny. Thankfully, for Obvious Child, they definitely are. The funniest thing is also the most abrasive too: Robespierre and Slate make you laugh through the discomfort (should you even lack the readiness to get through it without a joke), potentially giving the wariest viewer no place to go but right along with them. You're basically given no option but to agree with them, or to face your discomfort alone. They've earned the right to be so unsympathetic - as Gaby Hoffman asserts, it's their business, and no-one else has any right to know. On formal, technical bases, Obvious Child is, well, obvious, and won't be able to convert anyone to its line of thinking with its cinematography, for example. But, if you're in on the joke, chances are you won't give a shit.