This Is 40
This Is 40
by Eric D. Snider
Released: December 21, 2012
The very first joke in "This Is 40" -- a movie made in 2012 by experienced comedy professionals -- is about Viagra. That lazy, hackneyed start is a bad sign because it suggests that writer-director Judd Apatow, the reigning champion of urbanely vulgar R-rated comedies, isn't trying very hard on this one. The rest of the movie is generally better than that, with a great deal of very funny dialogue, but it's also a lot like that Viagra joke: it's unoriginal, it lacks substance, and it overstays its welcome.
None of these charges are new when it comes to Apatow. Plenty of critics and viewers called out "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" (116 minutes), "Knocked Up" (129 minutes) and "Funny People" (146 minutes) for being too long -- and that includes critics and viewers who otherwise liked the movies. But "This Is 40" (133 minutes) suffers the effects more keenly than Apatow's other movies have, perhaps because it's missing a lovable central character whose company we don't mind keeping for longer than we're supposed to. And while there's the usual undercurrent of sweetness and sensitivity, it feels mundane this time, like a Hallmark card aphorism.
Reprising the supporting characters they created in "Knocked Up," Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann take center stage as Pete and Debbie, a Southern California married couple whose relationship is OK overall but stagnant. (Nothing has changed in the five years since "Knocked Up.") Both are about to turn 40, and Debbie's reacting idiotically, telling people she's turning 38 instead. She freaks out over the Viagra thing, too, in the classic "Why do you need a pill?? Don't you find me attractive anymore?? Wah wah wah!" fashion. Pete's start-up record label is doing poorly, and he's lending cash to his father (Albert Brooks) and lying to Debbie about it. Sometimes he escapes to the bathroom to be alone with his iPad.
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Rated R, abundant harsh profanity and vulgarity, some strong sexuality, a bit of nudity
2 hrs., 13 min.
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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