This Is 40

I’m a Knocked Up fan. I had it on my iPod for years and ended up watching it approximately 400 times, so it’s fair to say that I wasn’t against This Is 40 from the outset. That said, I’ve been a little perplexed by the marketing for the film, which has insisted on it being about middle-aged problems but also that ‘this is everyone’s story’. Hmm, I’ve personally yet to encounter many of the problems of raising a family, but does that mean that I’m no longer part of the ‘everyone’ set? And so in lies the problem with This Is 40: it’s a rambling love letter to middle-aged neuroses but with the same juvenile humour that’s marked out every preceding Apatow movie. And it has literally no plot.

Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann) are getting old(ish) and they’re having to address that. The horrors of their affluent lifestyle include a child who might be being lightly cyber bullied, an enormous house that they might have to downsize, and a self-owned record label that isn’t selling enough records. Oh, no! Still, Rudd and Mann are the same charming couple that really stood out in Knocked Up, although they feel less sympathetic here. You sort of wonder whey they’re together when they seem wholly incompatible most of the time. But that’s it- that’s the extent of the plot. The film is treating an inevitable part of the ageing process as though it’s some sort of profound event that needs to be chronicled, when it’s really not.

There are fun cameos from Megan Fox and Albert Brooks, a clanger from John Lithgow and some mildly entertaining work from Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd, but the film focuses quite intensely on the family unit and never really catches fire. It’s entertaining and I did laugh a fair bit, but it feels lazy and self-indulgent and I just really wanted something to take the film by the scruff of the neck. Serious crime! Terminal illness! Bane! In order for the film to have worked it needed a crucial driving force, something it completely lacked. The result is a languid, meandering film that has less going on than an episode of Last of the Summer Wine.

A missed opportunity to follow up Knocked Up with an insightful look at adulthood. As it is, the result is lethargic and entirely missable. 

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2.5
Title: This Is 40
Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow
Running Time: Over 2 hours (too long)
Ceritiface: 15, for iCunt

One Comment

  1. Richard says:

    Yeah, when was the last time Paul Rudd was in anything that wasn’t a pile of shit?