Review: HBO Max's 'Unpregnant' is a familiar road comedy with a different destination

HBO Max's road comedy UNPREGNANT stars{ }Haley Lu Richardson as Lucy and{ }Barbie Ferreira as Bailey (Photo: HBO Max){ }

3 out of 5 Stars
Rachel Lee Goldenberg
Writer: Rachel Lee Goldenberg, Bill Parker, Jenni Hendriks, Jennifer Kaytin, Ted Caplan
Starring: Haley Lu Richardson, Barbie Ferreira, Giancarlo Esposito
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexual content, strong language and some drug references

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SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: Veronica, a 17-year-old Missouri student with Ivy League aspirations, discovers she’s pregnant and embarks on a cross-country road trip to have an abortion.

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Review: At the Sundance Film Festival I saw a film by Eliza Hittman called “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.” It is a heartbreaking film about Autumn, a 17-year-old girl, who discovers she is pregnant. Unable to get an abortion in Pennsylvania, Autumn and her cousin Skylar take a bus to New York City. It is an incredible film featuring tremendous performances.

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“Unpregnant” is the Hollywood version of “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.” Where “Rarely Never” is filled with struggle and a real sense of danger, “Unpregnant” is a film where everything falls into place and danger is more of the slapstick variety.

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The story, which is primarily a road-trip reunion between childhood friends who have gone in radically different directions in high school, is familiar and predictable, but the actors are amiable, and the characters aren’t nearly as vapid or shallow as they could have been. The script is a little uneven, the film tends to lose its personality when it tries to be serious and many of the smaller roles feel like cartoon characters (particularly boyfriend Kevin and the fanatical couple). That said, the absurdity and broad comedy is part of the film’s charm. I just wish it meshed better with its heart-to-heart scenes.

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While I prefer the realism of “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” most audiences will be drawn to the brightly-colored comedy of “Unpregnant.” It’s more fun than you’d expect, but it isn’t quite the conversation starter that I had hoped for.

P.S. There’s no way that Kevin listens to Imagine Dragons. He’s way too much of a patriarchal ass for that.

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