Film Review- “This is 40” (2012)
Directed by- Judd Apatow
Running Time- 133 mins
Writer/Director Judd Apatow said of his slice-of-life comedy about the pangs of marriage and parenthood, “During the movie's most embarrassing moments you will say, 'Yeah, I do that.'”
Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their roles as the no-so-happily married couple from 2007's “Knocked Up.” Their story picks up 5 years later as Pete and Debbie are turning 40 years old.
The movie is a portrait of modern-day upper-middle class suburban life. They have children who are defiant and bratty. They both have their own business, both of which are struggling. They have parents who cause them stress and who they blame for their behavior towards each other. They keep things from each other, they resent each other and they endure daily battles against each other and their children.
Debbie is constantly saddened by the state of her marriage and family and spends the whole movie arguing in favor of them changing and improving their lives. Pete is hanging onto the thread of a chance that his business will be successful but most of the time he acts defeated by the burdens of his overwhelming life and would rather suffer through the unhappiness than go through the rigors of undergoing the changes his wife wants.
All the characters are easy to relate to. Debbie is a little more manic but is no more irrational than any other wife/mother. Pete is a little more of an ass but is no more desperate than any other husband/father. Their children, Sadie, 13 and Charlotte, 8, are Apatow and Mann's real life children Maude and Iris Apatow. They are just as bratty and difficult and as damn cute as all children their ages. Add to the mix a great turn by Albert Brooks who plays Pete's inconvenient father Larry, who is always borrowing money from Pete and John Lithgow, who plays Debbie's emotionally distant father Oliver, who has a great life while neglecting her. Not to mention Melissa McCarthy, who plays Catherine, an overly sensitive and mean-tongued mother Catherine. Almost all who see this movie will identify these characters with someone from their own lives.
The movie is filled with laughs throughout and the comedy is classic Apatow. The jokes are mostly “zingers”that range from put downs to hilarious observations as well as pop culture references. It is a little sophomoric and juvenile but it is so funny that it makes the otherwise thin plot enjoyable throughout.
There is a frustration that comes with watching a movie where the characters struggle to be happy- and there are plenty of moments when the couple finds common ground- but always seem to come back to being annoyed by each other. There is never any doubt that they really love each other and there are no surprises in how the conflicts will resolve themselves. But even though it is predictable, every conflict with every relationship is resolved by movie's end in a satisfying way.
I loved this movie not only for being so easy to identify with but because the dialogue and actors are so incredibly funny.
Film Grade A