This is 40

This Is 40

Running Time: 
130 minutes

Judd Apatow has an aptitude for being able to make people laugh. While there’s nothing overly sophisticated about his humor, it’s nonetheless entertaining and quotable. Just try to find me a 20-something-year-old guy who doesn’t know the lines from The 40-Year-Old Virgin or Knocked Up. I dare you. Even when not directing, just having Apatow’s name attached to a project is almost a guarantee that what you’re about to watch will be funny. Unfortunately, only being funny doesn’t always cut it.

Knocked Up first introduced us to the dysfunctional couple Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) and while by the end of the film they have reconciled, things haven’t changed all that much years down the road. As the title suggests, This is 40 follows Pete and Debbie as they both turn 40 and face the fact that they’re getting older and their marriage isn’t as great as they once thought. Furthermore, financial problems with Pete’s record label and thousands of missing dollars from Debbie’s clothing store only put more tension on their strained relationship. Suddenly Ben and Alison don’t seem like such a bad match after all.

This is 40 attempts to delve beyond the comical jokes and gags that Apatow is known for and explore the characters as they transition to a new period in their lives. Unfortunately, it’s not that interesting. Everyone in the film is dealing with a crisis of some sort. Pete’s business is failing, Debbie’s worried about getting old, and both struggling with horrible parents. It’s always one thing after another that apparently goes wrong followed by a brief period of momentary happiness. The film is filled with these up and down moments that don’t really go anywhere and are never fully resolved. This is 40 goes through a midlife crisis in deciding whether it wants to be a comedy or a drama and suffers overall as a result.

There are some redeeming qualities, though. The casting is great, with Rudd and Mann being joined by Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy, Albert Brooks, Chris O’Dowd, and Megan Fox. Most of the memorable involve the supporting cast including a hilarious scene with Melissa McCarthy at a school or Jason Segel and Chris O’Dowd fawning over Megan Fox. It’s these scenes where Apatow’s style of humor shines. If only there were more of them during the course of the film’s dauntingly long running time of two hours and 15 minutes.

This is 40 shows that “the sort-of sequel to Knocked Up” isn’t a guaranteed success. It has its moments, yes, but overall the film is a tiresome chore that relies on fleeting scenes of pure comedy genius to propel it forward. I guess wisdom doesn’t always come with age in some cases.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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