In the indie flick Obvious Child, Jenny Slate plays Donna, a Brooklyn-based standup comic who is unexpectedly dumped by her long-time boyfriend (Paul Briganti). What’s a sad twenty-something to do? Head to the bar to pound beers with a bestie (the Saturday Night Live alum’s real-life best friend Gabe Liedman) and end up in the arms of a sweet stranger (The Office regular Jake Lacy) in a one-night stand, obviously.
But what happens next — spoiler alert! — isn’t exactly traditional rom-com material. Donna loses her job, finds out she’s pregnant, and speedily makes an appointment for an abortion, which just happens to fall on Valentine’s Day.
“We weren’t sure how an abortion comedy would work out,” says writer-director Gillian Robespierre, who cast Slate for the first iteration of Obvious Child, a twenty minute short posted on Vimeo in 2009, after seeing Slate perform at a Brooklyn comedy club. “[But] I think, what Jenny did was really capture that feeling of feeling lost and learning how to grow from that experience.”
Co-starring Gaby Hoffmann, Polly Draper and Richard Kind, Obvious Child — which received critical acclaim when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year — is Slate’s first feature-length film, a funny but poignant departure from the offbeat schtick she’s known for on series like Parks & Recreation, Kroll Show and her viral animated YouTube series, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On. (Marcel fans take note: Slate plans to release a second book featuring the squeaky-voiced character in November.)
“I was just looking to play a woman that was recognizable to me, and I wasn’t finding a lot of that in the comedies I was watching and enjoying,” shares Slate. “We don’t exist in a world anymore where women have to hide that they have periods, or use the bathroom, or sometimes have to go and get abortions.”
Check out this exclusive clip from Obvious Child, which features Donna — wine bottle in hand — comically drunk dialing her ex-boyfriend. The film opens June 6.