I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I was expecting a better comedy film than this.
Immediately after the opening scene inside a shower and a debate over taking viagra, I knew I was in for an excruciating two plus hours.
Not a direct sequel to the hit Knocked Up as the movie advertisements may suggest, rather a continuation of events concerning two of that particular film’s supporting characters, Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann, real life partner of the director) as they reach the big four-O. All the ingredients are here for returning accomplished director Judd Apatow, a fantastic cast and a fair universal premise that has endless comedic possibilities, so what happened?
Turning that milestone age is playing on the minds of married couple, Pete and Debbie, which sends the pair into fits of despair at regular intervals, while their two daughters are growing up fast, especially as the eldest is hitting puberty. Debbie sneaks off to smoke cigarettes out of sight while Pete chows down on too many cupcakes, even discarded ones found in the trash. Their working lives are causing concern too; Pete has an independent record label without any big name current acts, while large sums of money seems to be continuously missing at Debbie’s clothing store. Deflecting those dilemmas are their friends and co-workers, all different and happy to give perverse opinions on life.
My biggest problem was by the time this film gets around to its point about dealing and embracing your age, the majority of the audience may have switched off or walked out in bewilderment. Watching Pete and Debbie keep that youthful spark alive after fourteen years of marriage while dealing with everyday realities is a monotonous endurance test.
The kids are good, both are real life siblings of Apatow/Mann and also appeared in Knocked Up. Excelling in manipulation techniques, the pair have many painfully funny observations from children’s’ point of view to their quarrelling parents.
I really tried to enjoy it, watching in hope that This is 40 was going to become more desirable, it didn’t. Saving this alleged ‘comedy’ from complete disaster are cameos from Chris O’Dowd (The Sapphires) and Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids). The latter as an upset parent is in priceless scene-stealing form which continues on during the end credits. Legendary Albert Brooks (The Muse) makes his small role memorable as Pete’s out of pocket dad Larry, while Megan Fox shows the same humorous mannerisms she did in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.
Leading to a finale bursting with sentimental clap-trap, biting resentment gives way for a few solid jokes and amusing anecdotes peppered throughout. But don’t be fooled; this is an anti-date movie if there ever was one.
This Is 40 is now playing in theaters.
Shane A. Bassett is a contributor for TheYoungFolks.com. Read more about him on our Partners & Contributors page.