Judd Apatow is known for his silly humor while keeping an undercurrent of real story. This is 40, the sort of sequel to Knocked Up, moves beyond past a novel premise that ends happily ever after. This is 40 is real. And that is where its humor lies.
Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their supporting roles from the hit Knocked Up and become the focal point of their own story. Pete and Debbie are both turning forty within weeks of each other and each one handles this age milestone in their own way. Debbie handles it the classic woman’s way: working on her body, changing her eating habits, and denying her age. Pete, on the other hand, has less time to deal with this change because, unbeknownst to his wife, Pete’s business is going down the toilet. Pete becomes frustrated trying to deal with business, the changes in his wife, and the hormones of his newly teenaged daughter. Pete and Debbie handle life with truth and humor and as they deal with stealing employees, difficult parents, and raisin g two daughters.
Rudd and Mann are at their best as they matter of fatly discussing the issues of life we all think about. One of the best scenes features the two lying in bed discussing the methods they would use to kill one another. This light hearted situation helps take the stress out of their life situation. These scenes remind us that we need to have more humor and less anger with our significant other. They also show us that successful couples do have problems and there are ways to deal with both successfully, and as we see in the film, unsuccessfully. In fact, this movie is one of Apatow’s most thought provoking film to date.
Many movies suffer in their ending, but the resolution to this film stays within the parameters already set up in the development. Without giving too much away, things work out but they don’t have a fairy tale ending. Making a “Happily Ever After” ending would have ruined the theme and tone of the movie. This movie is about real life not the Hollywood version of it (even though they have over expensive car and Pete has enough money to give his dad $80,000 in two years), and Pete and Debbie’s story echoes the path of everyday people.
Apatow productions always have great supporting cast. Megan Fox does her best work as a slutty sales clerk and Jason Segel is hilarious as Debbie’s personal trainers. Mann and Apatow’s real life daughter show exactly what raising children can be like and add emotional depth to many of the scenes. But, unlike previous Apatow installments, these supporting actors do not make the movie. The main characters are the engaging part of the movie, unlike Knocked Up, which was at its funniest when Seth Rogan was hanging out with his posse. Apatow took two characters he knew we liked and expanded their world into a fantastic story.
With movies like this Apatow proves he can move beyond silly and dirty jokes. He shows heart and depth and does well personifying life for what it is. This is 40 is a must so for anyone in their adult years.
- This Is 40 Review (cwatlanta.cbslocal.com)
- Film Review: ‘This Is 40’ tells American story, with laughs (ballardnewstribune.com)
- ‘This Is 40’ review: Kids OK, parents dull (newsday.com)
- This Is 40 Review (Kirk Haviland) (entertainmentmaven.com)