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He Said, She Said Review Site
This is 40

This is 40

What She said:


When I was younger, I imagined 40 as the age where life ends.  People who were 40 were old, wrinkly, AARP cardholders, who caught the early bird special at Old Country Buffet.  It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I began to realize that 40 really is not that old.  We’ve just attached this stigma to it because by the time most people reach that age they’ve got children and obligations.  I’m personally still a decade away, and the thought of being 40 terrifies me somewhat.  Ugh, gray hair.  I would have hoped that This Is 40 could have qualmed my fears—afterall Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd both look pretty young for their ages.  Instead, the movie presents all the drama that 40 brings with it—screaming kids, mammograms, and oodles of spousal resentment.

You’re not wrong if you feel like the family in This Is 40 seems familiar.  They’re the same family that appears peripherally in Knocked Up.  Pete and Debbie seem like the perfect couple on the outside.  They are attractive, live in a huge home, and have adorable daughters.  But that’s just the outward appearance.  In reality, Pete and Debbie are living the nightmare of middle age.  Things are sagging, doors are closing, and everyone is at wit’s end all the time.  So yeah, Pete and Debbie are in a lull.  There are times that they literally wish the other one was dead.  And there appear to be times when their children wish they didn’t exist too.  It’s a very frustrating life.

The movie presents this as the reality of being 40.  Maybe not for everyone, but for some who have worked so hard to make their lives appear to be wonderful only to realize that they need to let go a little.  What I didn’t like about this movie is that the characters seem to be too spoiled.  I’m not necessarily going to feel bad for anyone who has a house that big and numerous electronic devices.  The moral for a while seems to be “Life without wifi is no life at all.”  Not going to resonate.  Plus, the characters are a bit too testy.  It’s one thing to feel down about your life, but these people are straight up angry at times. 

That said, there’s something oddly relatable about Pete and Debbie.  I’m not sure I’ll ever live like them, but something about their relationship does jive with me.  I admit that there have been times I’ve wanted to be alone so bad that I’ve hid in the bathroom.  We all occasionally yearn for that type of solitude.  I also love the representation of adjusting to life as an older person—various changes happening to your body that you’re not sure how to cope with.  The movie presents all this in a very funny way. 

Unfortunately, I think This Is 40 was a little bit too long and a little too heavy on the drama.  I got so sucked in by the fighting that the moments for laughter almost seemed jarring.  If it were a little less heavy, then I think the humor would have stuck much better. 

A quick side note, I’m surprised I’m not annoyed or worn out on Paul Rudd by now.  The guy is in almost every movie, and yet I still enjoy him.  Kudos to him for staying on my good side. 

Overall, I did like a lot of what This Is 40 had to offer.  It was just a bit weighed down by its own anger and drama.

Thumbs half up.      


What He said:


This is 40 is a spinoff of Knocked Up. Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) from Knocked Up, who were popular supporting characters, get their own movie this time around. In theory, that’s a good idea because Rudd and Mann and funny, their characters in the previous were funny, and they have believable chemistry. Does it all translate to success though?

It’s several years after the events of Knocked Up and a lot has changed for Pete and Debbie. Pete has his own record label, Debbie owns a clothing boutique, and they are both turning 40. You are supposed to identify with them feeling older, kind of sick of one another, and just generally stressed by all the things life throws at you. And for the most part you do. There’s a lot of good humor about couples who have been together a long time and see each other like nobody else does. Everyone knows what it’s like to need more money. That’s part of the problems with this movie though. Financial troubles are relatable, but this couple owns not one, but two businesses. Who exactly was writer/director Judd Apatow trying to appeal to with this approach? It’s not that I don’t feel bad for business owners who are struggling, it’s just not very relatable.

This is 40

So throughout the movie the characters are dealing with getting older, the fact that they annoy each other, their kids, their parents, and their financial issues. They are trying to fix all of these problems, while trying to keep it together at the same time.

Apatow likes blending comedy and drama. Sometimes it works really well. Sometimes it feels really forced, awkward, and breaks up the pace of the movie. Rudd and Mann are funny actors and they have good chemistry as these characters, but there are times where the joke/drama just keeps going on-and-on to the point you don’t care anymore. You will be laughing at something the characters said or identifying with their issues, but there are times where it just keeps going and feels like bad editing. The scene will go on for about 5 minutes too long. Albert Brooks character was an example of that. Some of the stuff he said was really funny, others were just bizarre and puzzling, least of all funny. Apatow writes characters very strangely sometimes. I don’t know if he has a different interpretation of what is funny or relatable, but sometimes it’s just strange.

I thought the movie had some really funny parts, some relatable ones, and others where I just stared at the screen baffled by how uncomfortable or bizarre the situation was.

Diagnosis: Thumbs half up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on April 22, 2013.