Review: This Is 40
Pete and Debbie struggle to raise two girls, manage finances, mend family problems, and find a spark in their marriage with the ominous onset of 40. But in a mostly funny way.
Who’s in It?
Leslie Mann, who is Judd Apatow’s wife in real life, continues her run of playing a character in her husband’s films. She is Deb, the loyal and frustrated fictitious wife of Paul Rudd’s Pete. John Lithgow and Albert Brooks show up to play respective fathers, and are both terrific, and they are joined by an assortment of hysterical characters, including Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Jason Segel, Charlyne Yi, and some notable cameos, come along for the funny ride.
Apatow isn’t reinventing anything here, and doesn’t have any answers, but offers plenty of funny and perverse situations about familial life without mystery, passion, and full of constant frustration.
Thankfully it’s a lot funnier than Knocked Up, of which this film is sort of a sequel, but at over two hours, and with plenty of unnecessary though funny asides, the movie sometimes feels like you’ve aged forty years.
It’s not so much a portrait of an American family and the problems of both marriage and the perception of age, but instead more a series of issues and argument that may or may not take place on a daily basis. Jokes of filth and pervasion disjointedly flow into scenes of manifested drama and heartbreak. It is a series of problems not so dire and not so atypical with little solution and few answers, with comedy that serves to complement and distract, but never enhance the narrative.
Still, it is a film of such generic, universal issues that it can’t help but be compelling. Regardless of age, these frustrations expressed (and unexpressed) by Pete and Deb seem so simple and common that they must speak to everyone in their own way. It doesn’t have as strong a narrative as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, still Apatow’s best, but it at times during the many isolated scenes in this never-ending commentary on the stillness of family life, there are hearty laughs and genuine warmth.
Should I See It?
Yes, with some disclaimers. You’re gonna wanna be both comfortable in your chair, because it’s a long one. It’s 2 hours and 15 minutes, but that’s in comedy time. That’s like 4 and a half hours in Peter Jackson or James Cameron time. There are a lot of fart jokes, penis jokes, and ‘what is that in my rectum’ jokes, so chose your company carefully.
I’m not giving this one away, because it could be one of the funniest jokes in the film, and it’s certainly the most subtle. Megan Fox is in the pool being courted by Jason Segal and Chris O’Dowd. She has a question of the defensive O’ Dowd, and Segal has the answer. It’s one that hits you a few seconds later, and when it does, it hits you hard. Well played.