21. This is 40 (R) - Runtime: 134 minutes
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Albert Brooks
Director: Judd Apatow
Writer: Judd Apatow
I'm a big fan of Judd Apatow. He knows comedy and has, I think, been growing as a director through each of his first three films. Unfortunately, his fourth outing is somewhat of road bump (at least I hope it's only a road bump). What could have been a stroke of genius with making a sort-of sequel to Knocked Up, This is 40 ends up being a funny mess of a movie. It has its moments - and I laughed hard in some places - but as a cohesive movie, it does not work at all.
I can't really explain the plot to This is 40 - basically it's a look into the life a somewhat dysfunctional family and their trials and tribulations. What bothered me the most about this movie is there's this forced conflict of money problems. Of course Paul Rudd's Pete has been losing money - his business is failing, he's lending out money to his chump father and he doesn't say a word to his wife about this! This is basically the same plot structure of the most laziest comedies/sitcoms. The whole plot hinges on this dishonesty and I cannot believe that a couple that has been together this long could be so uncommunicative with each other. The movie tries very hard to show us these are real people but this is not how real people react in real life. I found this to be a very hard pill to swallow.
The other problem with the movie is the characters themselves. As side characters in Knocked Up, they were nice comic relief. Here, everyone is a complete asshole with pretty much no likability. Almost every character, including one of the kids, are such selfish jerks that the movie made me feel no sympathy for their problems. These characters don't develop - at the end of the movie, I felt that nobody learned anything - they're all still going to be a bunch of assholes living under a different roof.
It's a movie that seems stitched together - there's no real advance in the story. It's like Apatow had a few great comedic scenes he wanted to film, but decided he could extend into a feature-length film. So there's no development of a plot whatsoever - it's extremely frustrating because the movie is OVER two hours long! There's absolutely no reason for this movie to be more than an hour and a half. It suffers from poor editing (or no editing) and a lack of progress from an actual plot. Even the acting isn't top notch - Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann defintely inhabit their roles really well, but everyone else seems like they half showed up to this movie. John Lithgow, Albert Brooks, Chris O'Dowd and Jason Segal all seem to be phoning it in; they don't seem present within the movie.
Don't get me wrong, I laughed a lot - that 's a testament to how well the jokes land in this movie and how Apatow can still make me laugh despite not making a great film. It's just a terribly plotted movie and the characters are completely unrealistic. Some of the movie is just lazy filmmaking and bad editing. I cannot recommend this movie, even as a rental - there's just nothing really memorable about it!
Rating: Not Worth Paying For!