Written by Guillermo Troncoso.
Judd Apatow’s latest serving is advertised as a “sort-of sequel to Knocked Up“. It tells the story of Pete and Debbie a few years after the events in that movie.
This the perfect sort film for Apatow to make. He explores the ups and downs of a married couple as they deal with growing older while raising their two daughters. He manages to find the humour that can arise from everyday situations. From the tedious moments in a marriage to the plain embarrassing ones, you feel as though he’s put every personal moment from his own life up on the big screen. The fact that he has his wife playing the lead and his actual daughters playing the children simply cements the autobiographical elements.
His non-PC approach to comedy definitely adds a spark to the ultimately familiar screenplay. Familiarity may be one of the issues that This Is 40 has, not only in the themes it explores (marriage is hard, getting old sucks, kids can be annoying) but in Apatow’s overall format and style.
It’s no secret that Apatow enjoys having his actors ad-lib their own dialogue to have spontaneous humour scattered throughout. Sometimes these moments work but ultimately these scenes end up feeling like isolated skits stuck onto an incomplete film. The film’s length certainly doesn’t help either. 134 minutes is a little too long for this sort of flick and it comes across as slightly self-righteous.
While these qualms may be important, there are still a number of great things here. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are both very likable and completely convincing, there are some very funny moments, and the honesty in some scenes is quite refreshing. It just might help if somebody reminds Judd Apatow that he doesn’t have to put every idea he has in the movie.
THE REEL SCORE: 7/10