This Is 40
Judd Apatow is back with his tribe, for better or worse. As always with his movies, the audience doesn’t know if they’re watching fiction or a retelling of the director’s own life, and this can be uncomfortable at times.
In this sequel-of-sorts to 2007’s Knocked Up, Debbie (Leslie Mann, also Apatow’s wife) and Pete (Paul Rudd) are a struggling couple who endure rather than celebrate their 40th birthdays, which fall in the same week. They live in a big, beautiful house, own an indie record label and a clothing shop, drive BMWs, have time to exercise, employ caterers for their parties and have two daughters (played by Apatow’s own daughters, Maude and Iris). You might say things could be worse – and you’d be right. Their only real problem, as in all Apatow’s movies, is that they don’t want to grow up and grow old. And that’s the main topic of this tender comedy feature: 134 minutes long, the life of these “poor struggling people”.
Clichés are rife: absent daddies (John Lithgow and Albert Brooks are superb), hot employees (Megan Fox is enjoying herself more than ever), unexpected pregnancy, and plenty of gross-out comedy (haemorrhoids, gynaecology). But to those of you still surprised and outraged when the lights come back on in the cinema, it seems appropriate to ask, “What did you expect?” After four movies, everybody is familiar with the Apatow touch: the same family and entourage refusing to be adults, and acting out to convince themselves they’re still young. It’s funny, it’s somehow still fresh – it’s a no brainer. The reality is these imperfect people speak to us in many ways, and we like them for that. They fart in bed, hide to eat cupcakes and smoke, have a teenage daughter who desperately wants to watch the last episode of Lost, and a disapproving younger one who seems more mature than all of them put together. Apatow knows how to capture real moments in life, and turn the hard ones into fun. His movie is full of love, life, laughter and tenderness. It’s rewarding and accessible. This Is 40? It could have been 20, 30, or 50…
This Is 40 is released nationwide on 14th February 2013.
Watch the official trailer for This Is 40 here: