“Obvious Child”: Trying to find the laughs in “shmashmortion”

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“Obvious Child” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:23, two stars out of four.

I like Jenny Slate a lot. The former “Saturday Night Live” cast member is pretty bold about playing larger-than-life, often spectacularly unlikable characters, such as Jean-Ralphio’s sister on “Parks and Recreation.”

Gillian Robespierre’s “Obvious Child” is a great showcase for Slate’s voice while giving her a more down-to-earth character to play. The banter is often fast and filthy, but still finds room for an underlying sweet tone. But the film’s fearlessness trips itself up when it moves into hot-button territory — abortion — and tries to maintain the same jokey say-anything spirit.

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Wisconsin Film Festival Spotlight: “Obvious Child”

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The 2014 Wisconsin Film Festival schedule went live on Thursday, and each day between now and the start of the festival on April 3, I’ll be zooming in on one of the more than 140 films playing at the festival. If you have suggestions about films you’d like to know more about as you’re planning your festival experience, let me know in comments.

Obvious Child” (Tuesday, April 8, 2:30 p.m. and Thursday, April 10, 8:45 p.m., Sundance Cinemas) — I was all alone on this one at the Sundance Film Festival.

Audiences, and most critics, loved this debut film from Gillian Robespierre and agreed it would be a breakout film for Jenny Slate, so good on “Saturday Night Live” and as Jean-Ralphio’s sister on “Parks and Recreation.” And I’m with them there — Slate is very funny as a fearlessly raunchy stand-up comedian working New York clubs. She’s so relentlessly, unabashedly raw, but in such a sweet way, like she doesn’t get what the fuss is about.

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Sundance Film Festival: “Obvious Child” presents a funny and very unclean Slate

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I like Jenny Slate. The former “Saturday Night Live” cast member is pretty bold about playing larger-than-life, often unlikable characters, such as Jean-Ralphio’s sister on “Parks and Recreation.”

Gillian Robespierre’s “Obvious Child,” which premiered Friday as part of the NEXT program for low-budget indie filmmaking, is a great showcase for Slate’s voice as well as giving her a more down-to-earth and human character to play. The banter is often fast and filthy, but still finds room for an underlying sweet tone. But the film’s fearlessness trips itself up when it moves into hot-button territory — abortion — and tries to maintain the same jokey say-anything spirit.

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