Paul Salfen interviews Gillian Robespierre and Jenny Slate for The Drew Pearson Show.
“JENNY SLATE KNOCKS THIS ONE OUT OF THE PARK – AND, IN CASE IT’S NOT CLEAR, IS VERY, VERY FUNNY.” – HUFFINGTON POST
For aspiring comedian Donna Stern, everyday life as a female twenty-something provides ample material for her hysterical and relatable brand of humor. On stage, Donna is unapologetically herself, joking about topics as intimate as her sex life and as crude as her day-old underwear. But when Donna winds up unexpectedly pregnant after a one-night stand, she is forced to face the uncomfortable realities of independent womanhood for the first time. Donnaʼs drunken hookup – and epic lapse in prophylactic judgment – turns out to be the beginning of a hilarious and totally unplanned journey of self-discovery and empowerment.
Anchored by a star-making performance from Jenny Slate, OBVIOUS CHILD is a true Sundance gem: a heartfelt discovery packed tight with raw, energetic comedy and moments of poignant honesty and vulnerability. Writer/Director Gillian Robespierre handles the topic of Donna’s unwanted pregnancy with a refreshing matter-of-factness rarely seen onscreen. And with Donna, Slate and Robespierre have crafted a character for the ages – a female that audiences will recognize, cheer for, and love.
Obvious Child is an honest comedy about what happens when stand-up comedian Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) gets dumped, fired and pregnant just in time for alentine’s Day. Better at WebMD self-diagnosing than doing her taxes, Donna’s got some growing up to do. But she’s unabashedly herself on and off stage — silly, frank, and lewd. After her boyfriend reveals he’s sleeping with her friend, boss announces the bookstore’s closing, and parents lecture on better choices, broke-down Donna performs an abominable set and has a one-night stand with Max (Jake Lacy), a young professional not remotely her type. One month later, condoms be Damned: Donna’s pregnant! Emotionally, intellectually, and financially unprepared, Donna seeks the choice most responsible to her future. But then there’s Max. His unwavering kindness belies his boat shoes. The two share a surprising wit and warmth, but Donna’s afraid to trust after heartbreak, and the more she’s drawn to Max, the greater lengths she goes to avoid the truth. Though making a difficult choice to let something go, the hardest part’s finding the courage to let someone in. Donna pushes Max away until he finally goes. But if he really is — or was — the one, she has to learn to trust him. There’s only one place Donna can be truly brave, vulnerable, and honest: on stage. Whatever Max and the world think, Donna’s going to be okay. And who knows, maybe Max will still be her Valentine, even at Planned Parenthood.
Obvious Child is a story that depicts one young woman’s reality and many women’s rights, rights that remain quite actively under attack. Though one in three women have an abortion before the age of forty-five, on screen unplanned pregnancies continuously resolve in childbirth or false alarm. Donna’s journey illuminates a choice that’s always wrought with conflict but often without shame or regret. And it’s that lack, along with the decision itself, that so often goes untold.
Donna and Max may want to have kids one day, but for now they just want the chance to grow up, and maybe even together. While Donna’s story is by no means a unilateral experience or opinion, her honesty — fart jokes included — just might give ’em something to talk about.
Obvious Child was originally a 2009 short film by Anna Bean, Karen Maine, and Gillian Robespierre starring Jenny Slate. It screened at multiple festivals in 2010 and received online attention from Jezebel, Bust, Slate, and 40,000 viewers who encouraged and inspired writer/director Robespierre to expand to feature length. In developing the feature, the project has been supported by IFP, Rooftop Films, the Tribeca Film Institute, and the San Francisco Film Society. Obvious Child is Robespierre’s first feature
WRITTEN/DIRECTED BY Gillian Robespierre
STARRING Jenny Slate, Gabby Hoffman, Jake Lacy, Gabe Liedman, and David Cross