This Is 40 (2012)
A weaker outing from the brilliant Judd Apatow. This is 40’s familiar (possibly overused) cast is not as effective this go around. Once again treading relevant waters. Apatow is known for his ability to keep his pictures heartfelt and grounded while still being able to evoke hilarity out of common situations. This time, the comedic twists, nor the emotion are as potent as his previous efforts. This “sort of” sequel to Knocked Up is “sort of” not near as entertaining. For all of this mouthing off, it actually wasn’t that bad. It still has more depth and laughs than any spoof or hackneyed comedy picture. But if it wasn’t for the performances of John Lithgow and Albert Brooks, I would have completely discarded this film. Also starring Apatow’s family, who’ve become quite frustrating as they’ve become more orbited as well as the always hilarious Paul Rudd. This is 40 has the potential but fails without consistency.
A few years after the events in Knocked Up. Pete and Debbie begin to struggle with their age and the needs of their two daughters as they continue to grow. While undertaking initiatives to better themselves physically and emotionally, Pete and Debbie begin to unearth buried tribulations. They decide to confront their parents about the neglected youth they suffered through and the financial problems surrounding the family. On top of that, Debbie and Pete become more involved in their own children’s lives which has, initially, a negative effect. While Pete and Debbie continue to learn as they go, unforeseen events begin to destroy their relationship.
You can obtain as many guest appearances from relevant celebrities you feel necessary. But unless you entwine them into the story with meaning, it becomes painfully apparent that it is just a ploy to keep the sinking afloat. With This is 40, the issues present, more than Apatow’s other chapters, seem to deal with problems outside the norm which renders its overall theme ineffective. The pop culture references and endless annoyances of youth don’t add any hilarity to the film. In fact, conversely it dwindles its intended broadness and damages its overall relevance. This Is 40 is Apatow’s most emotional picture to date, but the humour is faded and the connectivity is not as strong or as universal as in his previous films. While it may conjure up some big laughs, its overall tone and reliability suffers.
I couldn’t resist putting a picture of this in the review.
This Is 40: 6 out of 10.