Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Jason Segal, Megan Fox, Charlyne Yi, Robert Smigel.
Rated: R. Comedy. Running Time: 2 hours 14 minutes.
I am a fairly big fan of writer/producer Judd Apatow. I loved Freaks and Geeks, the series that launched more careers than my daughter Gina launches F-bombs. And there’s Ron Burgundy, 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Step Brothers, Year One, Bridesmaids. The guy makes me laugh, most of the time. He does throw in the occasional dud, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Wanderlust, Five Year Engagement. But honestly, even those sub-par efforts had some decent moments and entertainment value. This Is 40, a quasi-sequel to Knocked Up, in that we pick up the lives of the always unhappy couple Pete (Rudd) and Debbie (Mann) and their growing kids Sadie (Maude Apatow) and Charlotte (Iris Apatow), is at the very bottom of his body of work IMO. While Pete and Debbie were fine side-kicking Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up, watching their train wreck of a marriage and life for a Hobbit-like two plus hours, was excruciating. Businesses failing, marriage failing, oldest daughter spoiled and screeching throughout, just very few laughs in this “comedy”. I thought the youngest Apatow was the best of the clan here. Iris’ Charlotte was cute, wise beyond her years, and had more sense than the rest of her family. You know a movie is in trouble when a highlight is Megan Fox. She does a fine little parody of her persona, and seems to being having fun with it. This Is 40 is nepotism at it’s best, or should I say worst.
I usually love an Apatow flick. The endless sea of hilarious one liners from the bulk of his work have been uttered from my lips millions of times. I had a lot of hope for This Is 40. Cute Paul Rudd. Bitchy, but always a hoot, Leslie Mann. I dug their take on marriage in Knocked Up. It rounded out that little film nicely, but on its own this story of real life problems is weak. I mostly enjoy going to the movies to lose myself or to gain a fresh perspective on something. There was no such lesson or shred of entertainment to be gained here. Also, it was just strange. Was this a sequel? Were Rudd and Mann just supposed to play the same couple in a parallel universe? It was all very confusing. The moments of laughter were fleeting, the story seemed forced or stretched and the cast didn’t have its usual spark of chemistry. And it was WAY too long. It was like an epic tale of doomed suburbia. This film felt like the friend that won’t stop telling you about their relationship problems, but won’t do anything to resolve their issues. Ross is definitely right in stating that the highlight of this diddy was Iris Apatow. That little nugget has a bright future in acting. I am not completely renouncing my allegiance to Mr. Apatow. I would only like to say to him: “Judd, listen dude, take a little time off. Come up with something fresh and get back to us. Don’t just spit movies out for the cash and to distribute titty shots of your wife. We’ve all seen them…about one hundred times since Big Daddy. We get it – you think she’s hot. We do too, you don’t have to keep bombarding us with it.”
Boring, long and not funny. Definitely three things you don’t want in a comedy. It really is hard to figure out what they were trying to accomplish here. Did they look at this finished product and say, “Oh yeah, we nailed it!”? Hey, I’m with Maria, I’m not giving up on Apatow, but you never know. Look at M. Night Shyamalan. The guy wows with The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs. Then slowly drags us down into the abyss with The Village, Lady in Water and The Happening. You could draw some parallels, both have been truly great and REALLY bad. No, no ,no, I have faith. Judd will be back. My advice: give Will Ferrell a call.
I stand by the fact that on the set of Signs, M. Night & Joaquin Phoenix were drinking bad water. It seems those two lost something after that.
How’s that rap career going? Also, quick note to self Joaquin – write the words on the opposite hand next time. Anyways…Apatow will be back. Just did not have the right formula for This Is 40. If I were you, I’d just skip this one altogether. Your welcome.
Ross’ Rating: 1 Gummy Bear out of 5.
Maria’s Rating: 1.5 Gummies.