This is 40 is Judd Apatow’s fourth directed film (after The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Funny People)
and is the “sort-of sequel” to Knocked Up. Well, actually, it’s more
of a spin off that takes place years later since the main characters of
Knocked Up are only just mentioned in the film and now it is their
supporting characters Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann) who are
the stars. The film follows the Los Angeles married couple as they
approach their fortieth birthdays and provides a hilarious and, at
times, brutally honest depiction of the personal and marital tension
that ultimately leads to Pete’s cupcake addiction and hiding in the
bathroom to play Words With Friends and escape from his family, and
Debbie smoking and threatening a young boy. Apatow also wrote and
co-produced the film and his two children Maude and Iris play the kids
of Pete and Debbie. This Is 40 was released on December 21st.
This is a smart comedy in that it will be seen and hopefully liked by
not only the twenty-something comedy nerd demographic, but also by
their parents. Now look, I am still years away from experiencing the
big 4-0, but judging by the hilariously awkward situations the two leads
get themselves into and the continuous family drama this is a realistic
portrayal of what might happen when a married couple with two kids turn
forty and this is clearly a somewhat personal film for Apatow. There
is one scene where Rudd asks Mann’s character to look at his anus
because he is afraid he has a “worm”… it is hilarious! But along with
the plethora of funny dished out in This is 40, there
is also a rather large serving of drama on the side. Besides
simultaneously going through a midlife crises, the couple must deal with
their uninvolved fathers, hormonal teenage daughter, and Pete’s failing
record label, among other problems.
This is 40 also has a great cast. Rudd is a convincing protagonist.
You feel worse for the guy with each cupcake he sneaks into his mouth
when no one is looking. And he fits the stuck-in-his-own-generation
record label owner well. The Rudd-Mann dynamic is quite entertaining as
well. But aside from the two leads the film also features Jason Segel
as Debbie’s personal trainer, Charlyne Yi as her pilled-out employee,
John Lithgow as her father, and Albert Brooks as Pete’s father, to name a
What this film lacks is a stronger plot. It is literally just about
two people turning forty, which is not a bad premise for a comedy, but
it doesn’t necessarily warrent a 134 minute running time.
Overall This Is 40 is worth a watch… A funny and all-around entertaining production!