I should be quick to point out that the above is merely an observation, not a complaint. While I do, of course, suffer from the affliction of the typical heterosexual male in that I would raise no objections should Katherine Heigl decide to change her position on this matter, prudence and good taste and other factors compel me to aver that I do not consider the pursuit of a gander at Ms. Heigl's bared rack to be a force that gives me meaning. That said, I bring up the issue because I see that Ms. Heigl has another R-rated "raunchy" comedy due in theaters, which, I see from the commercials, contains a vibrator joke that was stolen either from The Sweetest Thing or The Naked Gun 2 1/2; The Smell of Fear, I can't quite tell which. And I see that the R rating is "for strong sexual content," rather than nudity. And I recall that it was Heigl, in Knocked Up, who, at least to the best of my knowledge, gifted cinema with the exceptionally dubious notion that smokin' hot chicks love nothing better than to keep their brassieres on while doin' the monkey.
The question of who gets naked in Hollywood product—not to mention the how and the why—has as much to do with hierarchy and power as it does with personal comfort level and such. See, for instance, Sarah Jessica Parker relative to her costars in Sex and the City, both the series and the very wonderful film spun off from it. The makers of Knocked Up would, I am sure, loved to have had Heigl go topless in that film, just as the makers of Forgetting Sarah Marshall (who are not unrelated to the makers of Knocked Up) would have preferred to have Kristen Bell ride Russell Brand sans bikini top in that film. Factors in their inability to achieve such aims include the actresses' agents and what clout they wield, the fact that both performers were "transitioning" from network (or at least non-pay-cable) television fare to cinema, and a post-Maxim lad culture that arguably values withholding—a bit of tease, you know—more than the full reveal.
Still, in Heigl's case her coyness carries a bit of an extra frisson, as it were. For who among us can forget her thoroughly committed participation in 1994's My Father The Hero, a picture that, its PG rating notwithstanding, makes Judd Apatow's films look like sermonettes? The film's constant intimations of pedophilia and incest were so unstinting, so crass, so nudge-you-in-the-ribs-slimy that they ceased to be intimations at all. And through it all there's Heigl, insouciant in a one-piece bathing suit with a thong back.
The reaction shots of Gerard Depardieu, as Heigl's father, are an interesting study in a particular manifestation of the Kuleshov effect.
My Father The Hero is that rare and repellent bird, a mainstream Hollywood picture that is more pornographic than an actual porno. And it certainly gave pervs of all stripe the hope that Heigl, as uninhibited as she played in it, would follow in the noble footsteps of Linda Blair and Allysa Milano and others too numerous (and in some cases sad) to name, and get out those ta-tas for the lens at the nearest legal opportunity, or post-legal-opportunity financial crisis.
But it was not to be. I imagine the fellows at Mr. Skin would call this a case of "jailbait and switch."