Director(s): Judd Apatow
Release Date (USA): December 21, 2012
"We're going to blink and be 90. We have to make a choice to do things different. I've made a list. It's the do better list. We're 40 years old, if we don't do something now, when are we going to do it? Your eyes are kind of glazing over.." –DebbieDo you remember the movie, Knocked Up? Yeah. This is the sort-of sequel to it, only not really. This Is 40 occurs several years after the events of Knocked Up and takes a more in depth look at the lives of Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) as they approach 40. From professional problems to money issues to setting a good example for the kids and dealing with their own parental demons, Deb and Pete struggle to cope with the "joys" of being middle-aged. Trivia Note: The main characters from Knocked Up, Ben (Seth Rogen) and Alison (Katherine Heigl), do not appear in this in the movie but references to both characters are made, for those looking hard enough. A picture of Alison can be seen on the wall of Pete and Debbie's home and Pete mentions that the "magic" cookies are from Ben (surprise, surprise). - IMDB
I am one of those people that really enjoys most of Judd Apatow's projects, so choosing to see it in the theatre was a fairly sure bet for me. And like all Apatow's films, This Is 40 is spot on with keen insights, even if those insights and comedy behind them are of the raunch variety. Apatow is brilliant when it comes to making mundane, every day realities obscenely funny and it's no exception in This Is 40. However, the plot isn't anything particularly revolutionary and there isn't much of a solid storyline at all. It's more a patchwork of funny scenes threaded together with some tension and drama. It's like one of those long SNL digital shorts that doesn't really know how or when to stop, but you watch it anyway because even though it's long and drawn out, it's still entertaining. Yep. That's This Is 40 in a nutshell.
If there's one strength in this movie, I'd say hands down it's the cast. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann clearly have their comedic timing down and play incredibly well off one another. Rudd does his usual lovable/goofy humour and it works (as always) whereas Mann takes on most of the film's dramedy moments. Their veteran married couple banter is the reason to watch the film and it's those scenes that steal the show. Interestingly enough, Apatow and Mann's actual children play Mann and Rudd's kids in the movie. The girls, though sometimes stiff, had some surprisingly memorable moments and their sisterly banter felt very real (as I presume some of it was). Another thing to look out for are the amazing comedic cameos from Jason Segal, Melissa McCarthy and Chris O'Dowd. They provide the most laughs, by far.
I guess my biggest issue with the film is that it stresses the financial woes of the couple as Pete's record studio is failing and Debbie deals with employee theft, but Apatow clearly has no realistic idea of what constitutes financial struggling for the average person. Pete and Debbie live in this grand, gorgeous house, they drive a BMW and Lexus respectively AND take lavish vacations to Mexico just because they can. Seriously, Judd? You're making middle class America really angry right now. But I won't even get too deep into this rant because that's not what the core of this film is about. It's about not taking life too seriously, acceptance and appreciation. But honestly, you watch this movie for the comedy more than you do for the life lessons. This Is 40 certainly isn't Apatow's best film, but it ranks better than average racy crap that's out there. And while it isn't quite as funny as, say, Bridesmaids, it's certainly one of the funnier movies I saw in 2012. Rudd and Mann reel it in and provide some much desired entertainment street cred, for sure.
Summary PrognosisOverall, I liked This Is 40, though that's not to say I didn't have my issues with it. It's entertaining and downright funny while sometimes verging on clever. But this is one of those films you watch to laugh more than learn, and if you can be okay with that (and the random crude humour) then I think you'll enjoy it too.
Watch It: Amazon (DVD release estimated Mar/Apr 2013)
Discuss It: IMDB
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