Release Date: Dec 21, 2012
Runtime: 2 hr. 14 min.
Director: Judd Apatow
Cast: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Megan Fox, Albert Brooks, Chris O'Dowd, Melissa McCarthy.
The saying 'misery loves company' may have been a euphemism for Judd Apatow's own mid-life descent into 40. Acting as the sort-of sequel to the hit "Knocked Up," his latest exposé shows us the many pitfalls with turning the milestone, and the strenuousness it takes to create another comic goldmine. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reunite as volatile couple, Pete and Debbie, who have all but given up on themselves. Raising unruly kids and fending off financial woes, the two are on the brink of implosion — or what some would simply call 'marriage.' Like any Apatow production, insights here aren't doled out gently, as unfiltered jokes and belligerence take on the meaning of comedy. And consequently, the film does have its moments when it's genuinely laugh-out-loud funny and not remotely contrived. But these moments are rare as they come as they're folded aimlessly into an uneven script that rises and falls like a studio-composed laugh track, set to being more of a drama than an actual comedy. Unlike "40-Year-Old" and "Knocked Up" before it, there seems to be no straight story format to follow, instead depicting a compilation of arguments and situations that belittle the characters. While Rudd and Mann both give credible performances, at the end of the day, it's their multitude of issues that effectively consume them, and make them all the less appealing. While "This Is 40" is a barely perceptible improvement over "Funny People," there could still be some hope for Apatow just yet. It may just be as producer rather than director.
Rating: 2½ stars