Reviewed By

L. Sue
In the "sort of sequel to Knocked Up" Director Judd Apatow chooses to focus on the more serious characters of Pete and Debbie, leaving the hi-jinks of Ben and Allison behind. I haven't seen Knocked up in a while, but I recall Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) being the more serious characters, at least they are the stereotypical nuclear American family. For those looking for hilarious fart gags, pot hallucinations, and general potty humor that made 'Knocked Up' Funny they will be sorely disappointed. While there are those types of gags in the movie, it isn't done to the same effect as in Knocked Up. This is a comedy about what to do when life hands you lemons, and making lemonade isn't your thing.

Take Pete for example. He is no longer working for The Man as a music producer. He decided to go out on his own and run his own label, putting out the music he likes.  As far as I can tell, the music Pete likes is Graham Parker and someone will have to tell me why he is worth all of Pete's fussing.  Anyhoo, things aren't working out career wise for Pete as he would have liked. He may be biking in the middle of the day and wearing board shorts to work, but the label isn't making money and he has to provide for his family. Said family includes his wife and two daughters (Maude and Iris Apatow), but also his dad (Albert Brooks) and his three young sons. Pete hides his money problems from his wife, which only increases the tension between them. They alternatively love and loathe each other, from Pete's viewpoint he became Garfunkel in his own life and blames Debbie for making him the back up. He copes by eating his feelings, to which Debbie screams at him to stop eating cupcakes. The cupcakes in the movie looked delicious, and appear to be from the SoCal institution Sprinkles.
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Debbie has her own set of secrets, the biggest one (SPOILER ALERT) is that she is pregnant. She wants to tell Pete, but can't find the right time. When she asks Pete about having another child, he replies that he wouldn't want another child. They have their hands full with the two they've got. The oldest, Sadie, is a teenager, and while hormones may be raging she is also raging against a regime that would take away her Wi-Fi and force feed her rabbit food when she has done nothing to warrant this. Sadie fights with her younger sister, adding to the stress of the parents. Debbie wants the family to eat healthier, love one another, and live in harmony. She thinks she is the Simon in the family and starts the changes that everyone is against, never checking with them if they agree with the changes. She is acting out of love, and thinks that good intentions alone are enough. And you know what they say about good intentions.

Clearly the changes don't take. And the more Debbie tries to harmonize the family, the more they pull apart. Pete may eat his feelings, and Debbie smokes hers. Which, when you stop and think about it , isn't good for someone pregnant. Pete and Debbie though will unite to defend Sadie, and in a showdown with Melissa McCarthy they will lie and deceive the principal, instead of lying and deceiving each other. Melissa's bit makes it to the blooper reel, and really does steal the movie. Pete and Debbie wonder, how did they get here?

To the outside world, Pete and Debbie have everything- the kids, the house, they are their own bosses. What could possibly be wrong with their lives? I have heard that this movie is autobiographical of the Apatow family, and that for Judd this was putting him and his family's issues out there. To that end, the movie made me think how good people turn irritable, defensive, and angry the more life throws at them. Pete and Debbie's life is messy, things haven't turned out according to expectations and they react on a very primal level. They scream, they run away to try and avoid it, and in the end they still have to deal with it. This movie did make me a laugh at places, but it also made me think about how chaotic life can get.  This movie is of the notion that comedy comes from pain. 

Christopher's 2nd Take…

I commend my colleague for getting far more out of this overlong mishmash of histrionics calling itself 'This is 40' than I did.  I heard this cat say that 'This is 40' was so long that by the time it stumbled to the end it could've been called 'This is 50'. 

My hope with 'This is 40' was not for a zany, wacky, Rogen-esque type comedy but considering I am kind of 40-ish I was looking for a comedy that I could directly relate to.  Ummm…. no.  Hell no.  Pete and Debbie's issues were so foreign to me, or to anybody I actually know, that it was impossible for me to connect to this movie on any conceivable level, and considering this movie is about 'real life' to some extent, if you cannot get with what the characters are going through, you will be lost for the next two and half hours.  And just so you know, if my teenage daughter walks in my kitchen and starts dropping F-bombs on me, chances are I won't have a teenage daughter anymore.  Also, as Lisa mentioned, this is purported to semi-autobiographical for Jud and Leslie, though I doubt Jud and Leslie have money problems.  Now I do get that wealthy, West Coast European Americans that live in eternally sunny towns, have wonderful homes, drive BMW's and Lexus' and have parties where Megan Fox swims in your backyard pool have problems too… I just can't relate to these types of problems is all.  And is there ever going to come a time when Megan Fox plays a regular character and not just some unattainable illusion of the hot chick?  How about a schoolteacher or something?  One that just teaches school and her hotness in never an issue.  I'm waiting for that. 

There were funny moments, heck… it was too damn long for something not to be funny… and God bless John Lithgow playing Debbie's absentee father because at least he imbued his character with a certain amount of humanity that even I could feel some sympathy for.  But the rest of the movie and the rest of these characters… Where Lisa noted that this film was built on the notion that 'Comedy comes from Pain', unfortunately I'd have say I was in pain while watching this comedy.
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