Ben doesn't have a job and is currently living off of a settlement he received when an ambulance ran over him as a kid. He's now 23, and the $14,000 has now dwindled to 900 bucks. Oh, and did I mention he's an illegal alien?
The movie's better half is Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl), an up-and-coming stage-director for E! News - a job that allows a hilarious self-deprecating cameo from Ryan Seacrest. Alison's life is quite the antithesis of Ben's, with plenty of proper structure and goals. She lives with her sister, Debbie's (Leslie Mann) family, including her two children and hapless and endlessly sarcastic husband, Pete (Paul Rudd).
Breakfast won't stay down
After Alison receives a promotion to on-air status - in one of two hysterical scenes featuring a gleefully pessimistic Kristin Wiig of SNL and "Firefly's" Alan Tudyk - she and her sister decide to go out to the club to celebrate. And, being just any other night in the life of Ben, he's there, too, in search of beer.
By chance, the two meet and develop a charming, if slightly awkward, rapport, and after a number of drinks, go back to Alison's guesthouse for a night of ... umm twister. (Kids could be reading this column!)
After all the, uh, twister, follows an embarrassingly uncomfortable morning-after scene in which Alison and Ben discover they have absolutely nothing at all in common.
That is, until eight weeks later, when Alison can't keep her breakfast down during an interview with James Franco. Uh-oh. You know what that means.
"Knocked Up" is, among other things, a celebration of adjusting to whatever hand life deals you, even if it's not in our ultimate plan. It's about stepping up to life's challenges, whether you're ready or not.
I have a favorite scene in "Knocked Up," and it just so happens to sum up this theme rather perfectly. On Ben and Alison's initial trip to what will be the first of many gynecologists, Ben, sitting in a waiting room full of women and crying infants, is in a completely new and uncharted place. To him, it's all a bit crazy. Ben locks eyes with a newborn sitting with his mother a few feet away for him. It's cute, but you know, that certain kind of "ugly-cute" that, honestly, some babies just are. The baby is wide-eyed and confused by the crazy world around him. Just like Ben.
In a season featuring web-spinning superheroes, animated ogres and swashbuckling pirates, it's amazing "Knocked Up" provided me with the best time I've had at the theater this summer. I can't recall a time during "Knocked Up's" two-hour-plus running time I wasn't smiling, laughing or, yes, even misting up a wee bit.
Not that this year's film crop so far could ever be called exceptional, really, but "Knocked Up" is honestly the best film I've seen. An instant classic.
E-mail Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org.