Saturday, December 22, 2012

This is 40: Movie Review

Dragging out unfunny comedy with rude characters.

The supporting characters of “Knocked Up” (2007) have matured. Married couple Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are turning 40. This does not mean that writer, director Judd Apatow has matured. It’s a bit more of a dramedy than some of his other comedic adventures but it’s still his typical low-brow humour spread out for over two hours. The characters are older, more assured in who they are, but their responses to life are less cultured. 2012

Directed by: Judd Apatow

Screenplay by: Judd Apatow

Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, and Iris Apatow

Pete eats too many cupcakes, makes poor business decisions and doesn’t tell his wife that they have to sell their house. Debbie obsesses over younger and hotter bodies, nags her husband about their sex life, and takes extreme reactions to every little, or big, thing. Debbie is rude, selfish, inconsiderate, immature and so disconnected from every reasonable woman that there is no humanly possible way to make her likable let alone funny. Pete was slightly better; still selfish, inconsiderate and immature but at least his jokes were just unfunny rather than rude.

The plot, in the loosest sense of that word, has Pete turning 40 and Debbie is going to throw his birthday party, but Pete is pre-occupied with his failing business and Debbie is pre-occupied with hating him. She is also obsessed with getting a tighter body and ogling them on younger women — this involves feeling up her young employee (Megan Fox) and hiring a fitness trainer. The main cameo of many returning Apatow players is Jason Segel as the fitness trainer. Why? Because it’s supposed to be funny.

Everything in the first two hours or so was done solely for the comedy. Some of it was funny (Pete is played by Paul Rudd after all and there’s a small role for Melissa McCarthy), but a lot of it was in the trailer, and most of it was just stupid. It was also at this point, the two-hour mark, that Debbie declares, “All of a sudden, we’re a magnet of negativity. What did we do?” Maybe she wasn’t watching the movie, but this has been two hours, it’s not all of a sudden, and secondly, she is the source of the negativity. This should be the turning point for the film but Debbie still hasn’t figured out how horrible of a person she is. That comes later.

Very similar to “The Five-Year Engagement” (2012), another romantic comedy that took way too long to come to its inevitable conclusion, “This is 40” only gets emotionally resonant when the characters finally make the change for the better. Too bad that in this case the characters were too far from redeemable in the first place.


Friends with Kids (2011) - Authenticity and maturity to a dramatic romantic comedy.