{2jtab: Movie Review}

This is 40 - Movie Review


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2 stars

Judd Apatow is an unquestionably funny filmmaker. The man’s comedic genius knows no bounds of either box office potential or human decency. With his signature comedies The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, he showed that injecting a story with a warm heart and genuine human soul can bring a guilty chuckle to even the primmest of the proper. But his latest, This is 40, unfortunately demonstrates how quickly heart and soul can be lost at the expense of gluttony, distaste, and self-indulgence.

Lumbering in at a whopping 134 minutes, the film is too long by half an hour, never manages that signature Apatow heart, and always feels like a series of loosely stitched together comedy skits rather than the simple taking-of-stock piece he wanted it to be. Billed as the sort-of sequel to Knocked Up, This is 40 picks up the story of two of that film’s supporting characters Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) some five years after we met them in Knocked Up as they begin to stare their mid-life crisis directly in the face. Pete is the owner of a struggling independent record label, Debbie owns a small women’s clothing boutique. Their 40th birthdays are approaching, their business are making no money, yet neither is willing to admit any of it. Then there’s the issue of Pete’s having loaned some $80,000 to his mooching father (Albert Brooks) over the last couple years and Debbie’s unresolved issues with a missing father (John Lithgow) who now wants back in the picture.

Our first disconnect comes when we’re forced to understand and somehow empathize with characters who are far from typical. Pete and Debbie start out as likable enough schlubs just trying to make their way through this thing we call life. But as we get to know them closer and their increasingly contemptible and juvenile behavior begins to grate, we realize they’re nothing like you and me, living beyond their means in a massive house they can’t afford and driving expensive luxury cars that far outstretch their budget. And if  sympathy isn’t one of the film’s intended emotions, it should be. But we certainly shouldn’t be appalled at the utter lack of responsible parenthood, nor should we cheer for the failure that awaits them at every turn. If any filmmaker should know about connecting with an audience, it should be Apatow who has demonstrated time and again his unique knack for building characters that shine through the dark place they’re typically asked to visit. Here he doesn’t, and This is 40 suffers greatly because of it.

Case in point: when it is discovered that eldest daughter Sadi (played by Apatow and Mann’s real-life daughter, Maude - how's that for self-indulgence?) is the target of a cruel Facebook prank, Debbie visits the instigator at his school and brow-beats the young boy with profane insults to the point of tears. The scene isn’t funny. It’s just plain mean-spirited and verges on gross malevolence. However the scene IS nicely countered by Melissa McCarthy’s character as the young boy’s mother. It’s all meant to show that the best comedy comes from life’s most awkward situations, but even though Apatow’s humor has always stretched the envelope of acceptability, here he’s torn it to shreds and broaches disgraceful.

Another of the film’s big misses is its astonishing lack of humor. There are a few genuinely funny parts scattered throughout (most are divulged in the trailers), but more often than not, Apatow’s iconic brand of hilarious raunch is DOA. We often find ourselves chuckling lightly at some throw-away piece of dialogue before a scene abruptly ends in head-scratching silence.

Narrative structure and coherent storytelling have never been a comedy’s most critical elements. Nor have they necessarily ever occupied a prominent stock in Apatow’s stable. But in a comedy that slogs on well past two hours, anything to offset the bloated mire and hateful characters would be welcomed.

{2jtab: Film Details}

This is 40 - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language and some drug material.
134 mins.
: Judd Apatow
: Judd Apatow
Paul Rudd; Leslie Mann; Jason Segal; Maude Apatow; Iris Apatow; John Lithgow; Annie Mumolo
: Comedy
The Sort-of Sequel to 'Knocked Up'
Memorable Movie Quote: "What is the difference between a straight man's mustache and a gay man's mustache?"
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date: December 21, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 22, 2013.

Synopsis: Five years after writer/director Judd Apatow introduced us to Pete and Debbie in Knocked Up, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their roles as a husband and wife both approaching a milestone meltdown in This Is 40, an unfiltered, comedic look inside the life of an American family.

After years of marriage, Pete lives in a house of all females: wife Debbie and their two daughters, eight-year-old Charlotte (Iris Apatow) and 13-year-old Sadie (Maude Apatow). As he struggles to keep his record label afloat, he and Debbie must figure out how to forgive, forget and enjoy the rest of their lives…before they kill each other.

In his fourth directorial outing, Apatow’s new comedy captures what it takes for one family to flourish in the middle of a lifetime together. What emerges is a deeply honest portrait of the challenges and rewards of marriage and parenthood in the modern age. Through the filmmaker’s unblinking lens, we follow one couple’s three-week navigation of sex and romance, career triumphs and financial hardships, aging parents and maturing children.

The all-star cast portraying the family and friends, colleagues and neighbors represents an ensemble of actors from many of Apatow’s previous projects, as well as new comedy players who have been welcomed into the fold. They include John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Chris O’Dowd, Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy, Graham Parker, Lena Dunham, Annie Mumolo, Robert Smigel, Charlyne Yi, Lisa Darr and Albert Brooks.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

This is 40 - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3 Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 22, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy; DVD copy; BD-Live; Mobile features
Region Encoding: Region A

The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer is beautiful. The movie, as you may have surmised, isn't the most action-packed of flicks, but it is still not weak in its presentation. The colors are crisp and bright, the blacks are deep, and the level of detail is certainly not bad. Skin tones are natural. The California setting is rich with nice layers. Edges are cleanly defined and naturally crisp, fine textures are nicely resolved on the whole, closeups are quite striking, delineation is suitably revealing and the film's light veneer of grain is intact. Things are not overly saturated it is and very realistic. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is, for its part, solid, offering up an immersive environment particularly in the louder scenes, despite being dialogue driven.



  • Writer/director Judd Apatow delivers a thorough overview of the film and its production, from story development to casting, scripted dialogue vs. improv, capturing an entire period in life in a two-hour movie, real couples vs. screen couples, evoking reality on screen, putting his own children in the film and more.

Special Features:

As with so many semi-improvised comedies, the This is 40 bonus features section is loaded with alternate/extended/deleted scenes, gag reels, and outtakes.  Nearly an hour of exorcised scenes are included.  The deleted scenes are: "Post Graham Concert," "Video Chat with Joseph," "Do It," "Dining with Barry & Barb," "Serious Contest," "Vaccinations," "Billie Joe," "Eels," "Comforting Sadie," "Pete Scouts Bands," "Pete Scouts Band Elle King," "Jodi & Ronnie in Kitchen" and "New Baby." Extended & Alternate Scenes: "Barry & Pete in Coffee Shop," "Unfiltered: Phone Issues & Gout," "Kids Watch TV: Shark," "Eastern Doctor," "Accountant," "Bird Spotting," "Alt Argument," "Barry 7 Pete Get Coffee" and "Desi: You Look Like."

Some things here are funnier than others but as with nearly all of this type of material it does become clear why they weren't used in the finished film. The disc is also loaded with other sorts of featurettes.  A 50 minute making-of is the highlight on this side of things.  The piece goes through the entirety of filming and offers up a nice look at how the movie came to be.   Also included are pieces on Albert Brooks, Graham Parker and the Rumour, a full-length commentary track, and more.  The best of the funny stuff is a Triumph the Insult Comic Dog bit with the puppet doing his thing with the generally accepting cast (notably, Megan Fox seems to hate the treatment).  The Blu-ray also comes with an unrated version of the film as well as iTunes and UltraViolet copies.

  • R-Rated and Unrated Cuts
  • Deleted, Extended and Alternate Scenes (54 min)
  • The Making of This Is 40 (50 min)
  • Fresh Air with Terry Gross (44 min)
  • Kids on the Loose 3 (12 min)
  • Long Emotional Ride (18 min)
  • The Music (36 min)
  • This Is Albert Brooks (11 min)
  • Line-O-Rama & Brooks-O-Rama (11 min)
  • Gag Reels (8 min)
  • Biking with Barry (3 min)
  • Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (9 min)
  • Bodies By Jason (1 min)

{2jtab: Trailer}