This Is 40

Directed by: Judd Apatow

Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Albert Brooks, and Melissa McCarthy

“F*ck 40.  40 can suck a d*ck.”
– Debbie (Leslie Mann)

I hear you sister!  After I saw the trailer for This is 40, I begged the SoberFilmCritic to let me review the film.  It includes some of my favorite comedic actors and was written by Judd Apatow who brought us gems like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Bridesmaids, Stepbrothers, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.  On a personal note, given that I am married, a mom, and in my mid-thirties, the idea of turning 40 is slightly traumatizing, and misery loves company.  Why not see a film I can relate to? 

In this semi-sequel to Knocked Up, Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Mann) are married with two kids, one a budding pre-teen obsessed with the television series Lost, and the other a precocious eight year-old.  Pete runs a struggling record label that promotes retro artists.  Debbie owns a clothing boutique.  Both are on the verge of turning 40.  Pete is having a party to celebrate, but Debbie prefers to lie about her age and remain 38 forever.

Pete and Debbie are dealing with different sorts of mid-life crises.  Debbie is struggling with the fact that she is physically aging and no longer the carefree party girl of her twenties, and she feels like time is slipping away.  Pete’s record label has been a bit of a disaster, and he is juggling a huge mortgage and constantly lending money to his dad Larry (Albert Brooks).  As they both face their individual issues, they begin to struggle as a couple.

This is 40 is a funny and fairly realistic look at middle age.  It is the aftermath to a romantic comedy—after you get the girl, or meet the guy-then what?  There are some genuinely funny moments in the film as Mann’s and Rudd’s characters interact.  After years of being together, they do not have the same passion.  Rudd’s Pete uses Viagra, passes gas in bed and wants his wife to look at his hemorrhoids.  Plus, with two kids around, spontaneous sex is a little difficult.  Watching these two try to maintain their sanity made many a couple chuckle in my movie theater.  Mann and Rudd have great chemistry and they play off of one another in the funny scenes, and in the painful, awkward moments as well.

One standout for me, however, is Melissa McCarthy, who plays an angry parent during her brief appearance in the film.  While This is 40 delivers solid humor, McCarthy isthe only one who literally had me in tears laughing.  She commits 100% to whatever she is doing and is just gold when she is on screen.  Her scenes in the movie and outtakes during the credits are worth the price of admission.

This is 40 is not without its flaws however.  With a supporting cast that includes the always hilarious Chris O’Dowd and Jason Segel, the film could have utilized them more effectively.  Both of these actors are scene stealers, but I didn’t feel they had enough screen time or material.  Segel made the most of his limited screen time as a ridiculous personal trainer.  But Apatow dropped the ball generally with these two actors.

In addition, This Is 40 made the classic mistake that too many films make—the producers put too much of the movie in the trailer.  They did not tell the whole plot, but they put some of the funniest scenes in the movie’s preview.  Thus, many scenes were not fresh and funny during the film. 

This is 40 squeaks in at a 0.03% rating.  It is relatable and interesting.  Though it does not deliver the same amount of laughs as some of Apatow’s other films, it does deliver on heart.  Have a green apple Smirnoff Ice with this one.