The Canadian intertubes are buzzing with the news that peripatetic newspaper columnist Rebecca Eckler is suing Universal Pictures for copyright infringement, alleging that Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up” is an uncredited adaptation of “Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-Be”, her 2004 collection of National Post columns.
Now, Eckler has a reputation up here for being something of a narcissist — like the most annoying guest at a dinner party, any topic on which she offers an opinion just serves as an opportunity to tell a poorly structured anecdote about her own magnificent self — so I’m not surprised at all to see her going after Apatow’s film, which does indeed revolve around human beings dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. After all, the title is the same as her book!
Of course, the title is a common expression, and the fact that Eckler’s life and Apatow’s script bear the most superficial resemblances don’t seem to have factored into Eckler’s suit. Or at least she’s not letting herself think about them in any significant way, as evidenced by this quote to the Toronto Star’s Robyn Doolittle:
In another similarity, Heigl’s character, Alison Scott, is guided through the pregnancy by her sister, Debbie, a comical mother of two. In the book, Eckler goes to her best friend, Ronnie, for advice, who also has screaming children.
Eckler points to the fact that Rogen’s character, Ben Stone, is Jewish and Canadian. So is her fiancÃ©.
Oddly, in all of this coverage, Eckler manages not to acknowledge that the central relationship in Apatow’s film is between Ben and Alison, who are virtual strangers when they make their baby and spend the nine months of gestation moving tentatively towards a relationship, rather than a self-absorbed monster and her pregnancy, which is very much the focus of Eckler’s book.
The actual similarities in the material appear to be the kind of stuff that every pregnant woman experiences — apprehension, confusion, concerns about her changing body — and which Apatow handles with much more elegance and wit in the film than Eckler does in print. (Yeah, I read most of the Post columns. I’m not proud.)
Personally, if I was Universal, I’d counter-sue for misrepresentation. Try as she might to cloak herself in cutting-edge cred, Eckler has never, ever been “hip”. But as she’s demonstrated yet again, she’s a peerless self-promoter.
Just read the info box at her blog, which appears to have been slapped together from its own press release. Or rather, don’t, because I think we’ve all spent enough time thinking about Rebecca Eckler this week.