Cert: 15 Runtime: 134 mins Director: Judd Apatow Cast: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Megan Fox, Chris O’Dowd, John Lithgow and Jason Segel
The Sort-of Sequel to ‘Knocked Up’
So as the headline says this is a kind of sequel to Knocked Up, I was rather looking forward to This is 40. Paul Rudd being one of my favourite actors, I gave this film a chance. Even though some of his recent films have sucked ass. Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) preparing for their 40th birthdays. They’re still married but constantly fighting. Their two daughters are constantly arguing as well even though the 8-year-old, Charlotte (Iris Apatow), only wants her 13-year-old sister, Sadie (Maude Apatow), to have more fun. Sadie is crushing on a boy from school and obsessing over the TV show ‘LOST’. Pete just started a record label that’s failing due to his obsession with old rock stars (like Graham Parker), which he’s constantly trying to support. Debbie owns a boutique that’s missing a great deal of money and she suspects her hot younger employee (Megan Fox) of stealing it. To add to the couple’s financial troubles Pete’s down on his luck father (Brooks) is constantly borrowing money from them and Debbie’s successful father (Lithgow) is always absent.That’s about the extent of the plot. Apatow then builds off this slender idea by creating a number of mildly interesting but relatively unnecessary supporting characters, such as Albert Brooks’ Larry, Pete’s father he is secretly loaning money to, and Megan Fox’s Desi, who Debbie suspects of stealing well over $12,000 of the store’s money in merchandise. For a huge theft, she doesn’t seem too concerned about it. After all, she has a somewhat dysfunctional marriage and money troubles, despite affording a large house, a BMW, an iPad, among other luxuries.Yet these minor little details can not disguise the heart at the core of This is 40, which is largely elevated by its two charismatic leads.
Paul Rudd is at his best here, and usually is when he shies away from the forced quirky imagine he has gone on to play frequently in some of his films, and the attractive and talented Leslie Mann delivers Debbie’s character in a way that isn’t too schmaltzy, whiny, or unbelievable.I believe the biggest problem at hand here is the length, which some viewers will not be able to tolerate. This is 40 goes on about thirty minutes too long, introducing many different characters and subplots, never double-checking to assure it has tied them all up by the time the ending roles around. Not long ago, I commended Four Christmases, a film I otherwise was unimpressed with, for knowing when to end and not carry on for another thirty minutes. This is 40 provides us with unnecessary stories of theft drama and biological father drama, two subplots that could’ve been wholly evaded and left the film at a more ideal one-hundred minute runtime, give or take. Apatow’s greatest strength and his downfall comes at the fact he has a form of energy that never quite simmers, and when he’s simultaneously writing and directing, things can get overwrought and sometimes out of hand.Yet This is 40 provides enough down-to-earth realism and an admirably efficient cast to make an honest, endearing look at a marriage that is losing its grip on reality and security. Apatow proves he hasn’t totally lost touch with the common public and their issue of marital discrepancy, and makes a funny, touching, light-hearted, and occasionally, upsetting drama that works simply on its own terms.