This is 40 (2012) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

This is 40 (2012)

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1Ryan // LIKE BannerIn my job, I have a client that caters to college kids and one day when I was trying to reach this age group, I realized that I could not relate to them anymore.  I am now in my early 30’s, think 10PM is late, have 2 kids and the scariest part; am closer to 40 than 21.  This thought really woke me up to the ugly truth that time keeps on marching and I am not as young as I used to be. For these reasons there was a lot that I could relate to in This is 40 even though I have a few years before I reach that milestone myself.

I have been a fan of Judd Apatow movies since his directorial debut with The 40 Year Old Virgin because his films are both hilarious and very real.  He might try to bury this in foul language and gross out gags but all main characters in his films are close to where I am.  We can sympathize with a man who never found the right woman and just stopped trying, a couple who have to grow up very quickly because of a baby, or a couple going through the ebbs and flows of married life.

Apatow sadly avoids what could have been a fun twist by having Megan Fox be the body perched atop those stilettos instead of Jason Segel. Maybe next time.

Apatow avoids what could have been a fun twist by having Megan Fox perched with those stilettos instead of Jason Segel. Maybe next time.

I am very comfortable in saying that my marriage is much stronger and better than the one portrayed in this film because I would never say (or even think) some of the many cutting remarks  Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) say to each other throughout the film.  This is 40 might be a comedy and it is very funny throughout, but the film is also dotted with moments of drama and how a marriage can start cracking by a thousand small cuts instead of anything earth shattering.

While many people might find this as a negative, I loved the very loose plot of the film and enjoyed the vignette type scenes that could have almost been called “40 short stories about turning 40”.  Apatow has a lot to say about being married and turning 40 and throws them all in by short bursts.  The fact that sometimes the most selfish thing that you could want isn’t something awful but just 10 minutes of time by yourself or the conflicting emotions of wanting to trust your child with doing the right thing and also spying on them to just make sure they are doing it.

Like many Apatow films, he cast the supporting roles wonderfully but by far the best is Albert Brooks as the father of Pete and a financial black hole of the family.  Larry is a mooch on Pete and they both know it and it almost seems that Larry is proud of the fact and is sure not embarrassed by it.  Yet Larry isn’t seen as a bad guy because you can see the love and caring between the two and Larry is a fixture of the family, unlike Oliver (John Lithgow) who has been absent most of daughter Debbie’s life.  Albert Brooks has some of the best moments in the movie and was born to be in a Judd Apatow film mainly because Apatow films are direct descendents of Brook’s earlier films.

Given the domestic troubles of Albert Brook's comedies, he's a natural fit for a role in an Apatow film.

Given the domestic troubles of Albert Brook's comedies, he's a natural fit for a role in an Apatow film.

I also enjoyed how the movie’s problems are not all wrapped up in a Hollywood ending.  There was not a quick easy answer that came out of the blue that made everything perfect.  The two still have some huge problems that will have to deal with but it ends on a happy note with everything out in the open.  Paul and Debbie love each other at the end of the film like they did in the beginning but the movie never says that the same will be true in 5 years or even 5 minutes.  At that time the movie ends the two know that getting through their problems will be easier together and I could not think of a more realistic or positive ending for the film.

While I really enjoyed the film there were a few small issues with it in a whole.  The biggest problem being that with the casting of Apatow’s wife and kids in the film it becomes distracting.  The viewer starts wondering what was biographical and what wasn’t.  Was his marriage with Leslie Mann this rough or did he embellish?  When these thoughts come up while watching the film you don’t see yourself in the movie, which is what should happen and instead think of the director’s life.

Those distractions aside, I have been a fan of Apatow for years and This is 40 is another worthy film in his library.  The movie is well written, acted and deftly balances the laughs and the drama.  If you have felt time creeping up on you or can relate to trying to make it through family life with your sanity in tact, there is many things you will enjoy about This is 40. 

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Posted by Ryan

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