This is 40

Dec 18, 2012

Turning 40 is apt Apatow.

This is 40
Grade: B
Director: Judd Apatow (Knocked Up)
Screenplay: Apatow
Cast: Paul Rudd (Our Idiot Brother), Leslie Mann (The Change-UP)
Rating: R
Runtime: 134 min.
by John DeSando

Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are turning 40; Judd Apatow, master of the contemporary raunchy social comedy, is growing up with them. His newest comedy, This is 40, hits every hot button for today’s pre-boomer narcissists from denying the birthday to the challenge of having a baby at a late age. 

It’s not the funniest film in recent memory, for the multiple issues are mostly serious stuff.  The sometimes underplayed responses to these issues are humorous but not enough to lighten the gravitas. Wrangling with their teen daughter, Sadie (Maude Apatow), never hits a mirthful sweet spot, dealing with a mooching father, Larry (Albert Brooks), and an absentee father/grandfather, Oliver(John Lithgow), all make for serious confrontations, hardly the stuff of great comedy.

Considering Apatow’s similar comedies, The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked-Up (this film is Pete and Debbie’s life five years after), This is 40 is more serious, certainly less raunchy (Pete sitting on a commode playing Scrabble is as scatological as it gets), more mature but with a plethora of problems not solved.

For all its missteps including a not really funny Viagra riff and groaner mammogram joke, it still has funny and real moments such as Albert Brooks as Pete’s mooching father. This is 40 will make you nervous for the time you can claim your 40.

John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at
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