With This is 40, Apatow's Shtick is Getting Old
- Friday, December 21, 2012
DVD Release Date: March 22, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: December 21, 2012
Rating: R (sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language and some drug material)
Run Time: 134 min.
Director: Judd Apatow
Cast: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Annie Mumolo, Megan Fox, Graham Parker, Albert Brooks
Editor's Note: This review contains frank discussion of subject matter that is sexual in nature. Parents please be advised.
Whether you’re a fan of his particular brand of humor or find it absolutely revolting, one of the consistently positive attributes of writer/director Judd Apatow’s work is seeing the transformation of his beloved loners, slackers and man-boys who are clearly outmatched by their female counterparts.
Yes, as a rule, the protagonists from The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Funny People eventually become more loving, giving and productive members of society when they were forced to grow up, which is never a bad thing, right?
Trouble is, the same can’t be said for This is 40, which is basically just an exercise in frustration. Sort-of picking up where 2007's Knocked Up left off with the movie’s supporting couple Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd and Apatow’s real-life wife, Leslie Mann), Apatow is here contemplating the ups and downs of marriage, money troubles and the untimely arrival of mid-life.
While there are a handful of genuinely funny moments thanks to scene-stealing cameos from Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) and Albert Brooks (The Simpsons Movie) who plays Paul’s mooching father, the bulk of This is 40 simply lacks the emotional connection of Apatow’s previous work. Weighed down by scatological humor in the worst possible taste (hemorrhoids are a punchline if that gives you an idea), an insufferable over-emphasis on all things sexual (see: Cautions below) and ill-conceived scenarios that, frankly, will feel grossly out of touch with the masses, Apatow’s shtick is wearing really thin.
If anything, This is 40 only underscores how important it is for a writer, established or otherwise, to have a good editor. A whole lot of red ink, basically the equivalent of the bloodshed in your average Quentin Tarantino flick, would’ve done this script good.
As appealing as the cast is with the likable Rudd (Our Idiot Brother) and Mann (The Change-Up) in the lead, the material they’re working with is just never a comfortable fit. Unless your idea of a good time is watching a couple bicker, full-on fight and whine about life not turning out as they hoped (they may have to sell their seven-figure home in sunny Los Angeles! Perish the thought!), chances are, This is 40 isn’t for you.
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