So I went to see This is 40 on Monday night. It actually exceeded expectations. First in a heated debate with Jon, I have decided it’s better than 40 Year Old Virgin, which was previously the king of Judd Apatow directed films. So if you only care that the movie is funny, then quit reading this now and go see it. The film has already won the Hollywood Film Award for Comedy of the Year, and has been nominated along with Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd for awards at the Critics Choice Award.
Debbie (Leslie Mann) and Pete (Paul Rudd) pick up slightly after we left them in Knocked Up, however if you’ve never seen Knocked Up it doesn’t matter because the background story is inconsequential. Paul and Debbie are struggling with family issues and the crises that everyone faces in middle age. With a less than stellar record company, and semi-thriving clothing store and two daughters (Madue and Iris Apatow) things get tricky. Parenting and martial issues are addressed pretty well and it gives a glimpse into a couple that constantly disagrees on how to live life.
Rudd and Mann create all the chemistry one expected them to have based off Knocked Up. The additions of Jason Segel and Chris O’Dowd as the “buddy” to Mann and Rudd works out brilliantly. I have never seen Jason Segel not be a star, he could be in the world’s worst movie and still kill it, as he does in this film. O’Dowd has popped up everywhere as of late and much like Segel is shining, these two have slight interactions throughout the film, but the pair makes me think they should do a “Buddy Cop” film.
The Apatow girls, who if you didn’ know are Mann’s daughters are perfectly used to create real family interaction. Every interaction, whether it was happy, angry, or sad is heartfelt and that is probably due to the personal connection between the real-life mother and daughters.
Melissa McCarthy, Charlyne Yi, and Megan Fox all play their roles well, yes even Fox who doesn’t kill the flow of the movie with her acting in this one. John Lithgow and Albert Brooks do a great job as the fathers of Debbie and Pete, they each have a strained relationship with the family and do a good job at conveying the seriousness of family issues in the film.
If you’re a male 18-40 and you have no strong ties to a crazy religious cult, see the movie. The comedy is much raunchier than the typical Apatow film, but it works out well. That being said, select your company carefully. Grandma and Grandpa probably won’t want to see the film with you, Mom and Dad might like it though. This is 40 has a good story about a struggling family, and has great comedy laced through it. I’d see the movie again and would buy it when it comes out. 4.5 out of 5.