365 Movies By Day Reviews of Movies I Watch that I Feel Like Writing About

8Dec/130

This is 40 (2012)

This Is 40 is an incredibly depressing movie that is not really that funny at all. I love a good, raunchy comedy as much as anyone, but when it's raunchy and not funny, it just becomes really dumb. I say this with lots and lots of love for director Judd Apatow. Apatow has written and directed two of the funniest movies of all-time (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up). He has also helped produce some of the other major comedies of the last decade including Superbad, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Still, this is just the fourth movie he is directed and, one of those, Funny People, was anything but funny. This Is 40 should have been a big hit. Apatow is talented enough to make a movie surrounding this topic into something funny. But ultimately, This Is 40 is a failure. I have yet to talk to a person who has seen this movie and said, "I loved it and can't wait to see it again." I've heard, "I didn't like that." I've heard, "I saw it and I'm glad I saw it, but I wouldn't watch it again." My thought on the movie was "I saw it and I'm not sure that I'm glad I saw it because, being near 40, I found parts of it to be too real and parts of it to be not real at all." I'll try to explain.

This movie is described as the "sort of" sequel to knocked up. Basically the extremely talented Paul Rudd (I Love You, Man, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) and Leslie Mann (The Change-Up, Funny People) reprise their roles as Pete and Debbie, the "adult" couple in Knocked Up. In actuality, it's not a sequel at all. I almost forgot Rudd and Mann were even in Knocked Up. What's worse is that Rudd is actually a surrogate for Apatow in This Is 40. Mann is Apatow's wife in real life and the two daughter's in the movie are Apatow's daughters in real life too. There is a great ensemble of side characters including Albert Brooks, Jason Segel, John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Chris O'Dowd, and Melissa McCarthy. They do a great job. Rudd does a pretty good job. Mann does a pretty good job too. But it always feels like a movie. Often, it's hard to tell if it's really a comedy or a drama, but it never feels real (to me). I get that some of the issues are very real and experienced by many couples, including those who are approaching 40. The new health issues and trips to the doctors for routine checkups that aren't very pleasant is normal. The financial stresses are normal. The lack of intimacy because of time and other constraints is normal. The issues between husband and wife after a 15 year marriage are normal. The problems that Pete and Debbie are having with their children are normal. The problems that each of them are having with their fathers seem like they could be fairly normal. I think the biggest problem that I had was that thoughts of infidelity were never brought up. There aren't really even any thoughts of being attracted to other people. Maybe I'm a little jaded in this regard, but it is 2013 and if this movie is being true to itself, I think that maybe this issue needs to be brought up too. This movie is already a downer in many regards so why not add one more issue that might even be more realistic than all of the others. I think it sucks that we are often more attracted to people weren't with than people we are to the people we are with, but that seems to be a fact of life. So maybe it should be put in the forefront and addressed like these other issues.

Pete and Debbie obviously love each other very much. I don't feel like their marriage is ever really on the rocks (that claim is sort of implied in Knocked Up). So if their marriage is doing fine, then why should we feel like they can't work out these other issues. It should be these other stresses in their lives that negatively impact them so much that it affects their marriage in a way that causes them to worry about it. Turning 40 should just add to it. But it doesn't. They are just issues that we think they will be able to work out because they never talk about it affecting their lives as a couple. They do talk about wanting to be happier in their lives, but, again, there is never a sense that everything is not going to be okay. Apatow wants us to cringe. He wants us to laugh. He wants us to think he's telling us a great and meaningful story. But really we don't do any of that. Instead we just think that these people are approaching an age that is scaring them and, while everything isn't perfect, everything WILL end up okay because it's a Judd Apatow comedy.

I really don't think anybody needs to see this movie. I didn't hate it, but didn't really like it. I never wanted to turn it off and it held my interest throughout. Yet, my life, and yours too probably has enough issues in it. And sometimes many of us don't believe like everything is going to be okay. What's the point in watching a movie with characters that have similar issues, but never really believing anything we see is real while also knowing that everything is going to be okay for the major parties. We never get emotionally invested to the characters. We don't really get emotionally invested to the characters in Apatow's other movies either (okay, maybe Steve Carell's character in The 40 Year Old Virgin), but again those are hilarious comedies. This Is 40 is not a hilarious comedy.

Plot 8/10
Character Development 6.5/10
Character Chemistry 6/10
Acting 7.5/10
Screenplay 6.5/10
Directing  5/10
Cinematography 5/10
Sound 8/10
Hook and Reel 7/10
Universal Relevance 8/10
67.5%

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