Monday, December 31, 2012

Review: This is 40

In a somewhat-sequel to Judd Apatow's Knocked Up, This is 40 gives us a realistic (and sometimes hilarious) look at what it's like to reach mid-life.  The movie is a bit too long and has a few jokes that fall flat, but contains enough signature Apatow moments and some solid performances from an excellent ensemble cast to make it slightly worth seeing.  However, Paul Rudd delivers yet another solid comedic effort and that-alone makes it worthwhile for me (slightly upping my JR rating).

Rudd and Leslie Mann play Pete and Debbie, the troubled couple from Knocked Up (Debbie is Katherine Heigl's sister in that film) that both find themselves approaching the big 4-0.  Finances, careers and kids all combine to through extra pressure on their marriage.  Through a sea of curse words and some solid adult humor, we get to see Rudd and Mann play off each other and embody what it's like to go through mid-life problems.  As a late thirty-something myself with kids, I can relate to a lot of the situations that they go through.  The problem with the movie is that the rest of what made Knocked Up such a good movie is completely removed.  Seth Rogan and company made that movie so funny and there just isn't enough LOL moments in this film to raise the comedic bar.  Rudd and Mann do what they can though and really do have some chemistry together.

John Lithgow shows up mid-way through the film as Mann's father.  I haven't seen him in a film in a long time and is a welcome addition to this cast.  He gives a muted and genuine performance as a reclusive parent who isn't really sure how to connect with his daughter or grandkids.  After Rudd, Lithgow is the highlight of this movie for me.  Albert Brooks and Jason Seigel chip in as well to bolster a talented cast. Apatow and Mann use their own kids in the movie once again and it really adds to the authenticity of watching Debbie interact with her actual children.

Surprisingly this is only the third major film that Judd Apatow has directed (After Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin).  It is definitely the weakest of the three and makes me start to consider the revelation that Apatow is a better producer/writer than he is a director.  Despite some slow parts, This is 40 is still a relevant movie for someone my age and is quite enjoyable at times.  A lukewarm 3 out of 5 JRs for this movie.  I would recommend waiting for DVD on this one.

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