This is 40: Disappointing ‘Kind-of-Sequel’ to Knocked Up
box-office hits such as The 40 Year Old
Virgin and Knocked Up under his
belt, writer-director Judd Apatow’s talent for combining raunchy comedic
material with relatable human issues has been an unmistakable winning
formula over the last few years..
Unfortunately, the comedy-king of Hollywood fails to infuse the same comedy in his
This is 40 is set around Pete (Rudd)
and Debbie (Mann) five years after the events of Knocked Up, where Pete is
desperately trying to live his dream of running a record label. However, with
only one client signed, his lifelong ambitions are slowly turning into a
nightmare. Then there’s his wife Debbie, who runs a clothing shop that is
mysteriously losing money and just like many women, she constantly lies about
her age and works hard on staying fit.
With both of them turning forty, Debbie decides to lay out new rules in regards
to how they live their lives; Pete is to give up cupcakes and she promises to
cut down on her smoking. Some more family time with their kids Sadie
(Apatow) and Charlotte (Apatow) – the director and lead actress’ real-life kids
– is also must and they are to let go of any past resentment.
However, her carefully laid out plan only ends up adding more damage to this
already dysfunctional family and a financial crisis only adds to their
This is 40 is all over the place and
has a lot of trouble in staying grounded. The point, if there was one at
all, gets lost in an excess of scenes where nothing significant happens.
Filled with unnecessary, grotesque ‘butt-hole’ jokes and screaming matches, the
film drags on and on. Apatow seems unsure as to what this film is trying say
and his often criticised editorial skills are evident.
Both Rudd and Mann seem to be lost with their characters. The usually
charming and witty Rudd comes across as an egotistical and a self-indulgent man
who fantasises about his wife’s slow, yet peaceful death. Having moved
from supporting to leading role, Mann seems out of her depth and her whiney
complaining doesn’t help. The problem seems to be that the two main characters
have not been developed enough; they worked as peripheral characters in Knocked Up, but their story ultimately
only served in developing the main arc.
On the bright side, Jason Segal, John Lithgow, and Albert Brooks provide
momentary relief in small roles, as do Melissa McCarthy, Lena Dunham &
Sadl though, This is 40 is shallow
and doesn’t stand up to Apatow’s impressive list of credits.