Before watching This is 40 I was expecting to enjoy it twice as much as Knocked Up. It has the best part of Knocked Up (2007), a movie I thought was a step beyond any comedy I had seen before it, but for more than two hours! This unfortunately was not the case.
I don’t know if it’s the fact that I was in high school the first and last time I watched Knocked Up, but it’s painfully obvious that it’s not as good as I remember it if This is 40 is supposed to be its sequel. This Is 40 definitely had its funny, charming sections but the overall tone of the film was long and pointless. There were too many characters, especially famous characters with no real role, that had small scenes that went nowhere, and not “nowhere but that was still super funny” just, nowhere.
Don’t get me wrong: I would definitely watch it again – well, I guess I could watch it again if it wasn’t over two hours long. I feel that Apatow still has many great films to shoot but for this to happen I think he truly needs to cut back on his need to cast friends and to just stick to the story and cut way back on the time.
Finally, directors/writers/filmmakers, it’s getting really hard to care about rich people having money problems.
Definitely watch This is 40 when it gets to TBS though!!
This Is 40 [or How Kids Ruin Everything]
I was interested in This Is 40 because it seemed like Judd Apatow decided to make a sequel to Knocked Up that focused on the funnier, more interesting couple of Debbie (Leslie Mann) and Pete (Paul Rudd). I was expecting a movie about a family veering closer to “normal” than other movie families: a middle-class family with problems not entirely caused by each member’s extreme neuroticism. This Is 40 is marketed to be a movie about what being in your 40s is like in 2012. Here’s what This Is 40 is: a very long movie (2 hours and 14 minutes – 35 minutes away from being the length of The Hobbit) about a beautiful couple and their beautiful children with self-created and possibly simply solved problems if they stopped being narcissistic enough for one minute to look at the big picture.
I’m being harsh. This Is 40 made me laugh and my initial thoughts afterward were that it was pretty good. But the more Chris and I talked about it, the more glaring the problems became: the completely unnecessary subplot involving Debbie’s employees (Megan Fox [?] and Charlyne Yi) and the even more unnecessary sub-subplot involving the characters of Megan Fox, Jason Segel, and Chris O’Dowd. This Is 40 also suffers a unique problem of having too many well-known faces playing minor roles. Jason Segel as a trainer in a few scenes, Megan Fox as a character only existing to make the beautiful and thin Leslie Mann feel ugly, Lena Dunham as an employee of Paul Rudd’s with a few lines, Melissa McCarthy as a classmate’s mom in a couple of scenes. It made the movie feel claustrophobic, and instead of Judd Apatow giving work to his talented friends (which I’m sure was the intention), to me it came off as just a clusterfuck of look-who-I’m-friends-with.
There’s also the infuriating aspect of the couple’s money problems (someone is stealing from Debbie’s shop, Pete’s record label is going under) that wouldn’t exist if they lived within their means. They each drive luxury cars (a BMW and a Lexus), go on an extravagant vacation, and have a upscale catered party for Pete, complete with an open bar. Yet when money issues become apparent, they both come to the conclusion that the first and best step would be to sell their house, which their children have grown up in. With every scene about this issue in the movie, my empathy for the characters got zapped little by little.
And of course Debbie gets pregnant. This severely disappointed me, as it’s such an easy, go-to conflict to put in front of a couple, especially a couple older than average new parents. The upcoming third child really does nothing more than underline the idea that if only they didn’t have children, 99% of their problems wouldn’t exist.
Expectant parents: stay away.