This Is 40 is a pseudo-sequel to Knocked Up, the movie that made Seth Rogen a star and fooled America into thinking that Katherine Heigl was, maybe, a leading lady. The most interesting characters in the movie were, however, the bickering married couple with the precocious kids. Paul Rudd brought his earnest charm to discuss how difficult is marriage and parenting, while Leslie Mann overshared in the way a real couple does. That small bit is expanded in This Is 40, Judd Apatow’s rumination on the nature of aging, an amusing, overlong, and unfocused story of a couple hitting middle age.
I sat through This is 40 mildly amused but there are no breakout characters or particularly memorable scenes. Instead what Apatow and crew have provided is a dramedy that takes seriously the challenges faced by couples who have changed since they got together. Toward the end of the film I asked, “what is the point of this movie?” It feels like Apatow’s attempt to work through his issues in the only way he knows how, through a multimillion dollar production. That’s not a bad thing, per se, as he is an affable writer but the movie is in desperate need of an editor. There are a dozen tangents, from an estranged father trying to reconnect with his daughter (John Lithgow) to one of the little girl’s tirade about how she was disappointed by the ending of the TV show LOST. While the movie resonates on an emotional level it fails to connect with the audience because of its wandering structure.
There’s nothing bad nor particularly great about This Is 40. It goes through the comedic motions and hits you with some drama when you expect it, but is never terribly funny and is, at times, a bit of a slog to get through. Entertaining, sure, but not enough to justify a trip to the theater.
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