This is 40
Review by Paul Preston
“This is 40” is a return to the same kind of foul-mouthed-with-a-heart-of-gold comedies that make up the best of the Apatow catalog. The sweetness isn’t pushed, it’s delivered in human stories people can relate two, and softened by hilarious comedy. That being said, the theatrical release of “This is 40” saw a lot of people revolting against it for an inaccurate depiction of 40-somethings Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd driving BMWs, living in a beautiful house and owning businesses. But we join the subjects of this movie right when all their choices are biting them in the ass and they could lose the house, and the business and doesn’t that feed right into what that argument is talking about? Maybe the characters were living beyond their means? I found it fertile ground for a solid, adult comedy that you could then layer with filthy jokes.
Once again, when Apatow directs, that’s when he delivers the best goods. When he produces things like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Year One”, you’re subjecting yourself to any variety of quality. But when he directs, the films are really sharp. Except “Funny People”, which I thought was a misstep because I didn’t care about the characters. I mean, I cared about Seth Rogen, but when he goes on a journey to befriend Adam Sandler’s character, Sandler was so unlikeable, and I didn’t care.
I encourage those who might’ve liked “Knocked Up” if it weren’t for the stoner bromance, watch this, ‘cause this is all married couple nonsense. And more adults can probably buy into that, which I would think would make this a hit.
Like the best Apatow comedies, don’t be fooled by the trailer. The movie’s so rated R that you can’t really put the best parts in the trailer. Or even parts that might encourage you to watch it.
But there are some shock-value comedy moments that don’t always appeal to me. I think Paul Rudd asking Leslie Mann to see if he, in fact, has a hemorrhoid shows the uncomfortability that you sign up for, it’s not necessarily a huge laugh. Apatow does his best work in relationship scenes that involve clever dialogue.
Apatow’s kids play Rudd and Mann’s kids here and they’re good, continuing a year of great child actor performances. Apatow’s not building complex relationships like you’d find in “The Descendants”, but he doesn’t necessarily wrap up everything nicely in every storyline, allowing for those complicated relationships, but still washing them down with great comedy.
Directed by: Judd Apatow
Release Date: December 21, 2012
Run Time: 134 Minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures