This Is 40

04 Jan

On the off chance (approximated at .0000001%) that Mr. Judd Apatow ever reads this, hey, sorry man. I like you’re stuff. You’re a funny guy. But this review has to be written. This Is 40 stinks.

In fact, fun with alternative movie titles. How about This Is 40 (Minutes Too Long)? Or keep it simple. Go with This Is Boring. Something a little more descriptive? Let’s try This Is 40 (Ounces Of Malt Liquor—You’’ll Need It To Make It Through This Film). I’ve got a million of ‘em, and I’m here through the weekend, but I think you get the picture.

To be fair, comedy is tough to do successfully, and Judd Apatow has been one of the best at it recently. But who knows what he was thinking with this one. I mean, come on, 2 hours and 15 minutes for a movie as flimsy as this one, with so little going on? At one point, I checked to see how far we were into the movie, and it was something like an hour and 10 minutes. And the first act wasn’t over yet. I knew I was in big trouble.

I really felt most sorry for the two leads. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, as a married couple (with two kids) just turning 40, were as good with the material as they could possibly be. They were genuinely cute together at times, and in the few scenes that worked, they had that movie cliché quirky couple chemistry down reasonably well. But cliché and tired are, unfortunately, the watchwords for this movie. It started right with the first scene. Rudd and Mann are having birthday shower sex. It’s great, but Rudd is on Viagra. And Mann is none too happy about him feeling the need to take the blue pill on the day she’s turning 40. They’re funny together in the scene, but the material is right out of the middle aged comedy textbook. Oh, yeah, the guy needs some help getting it up, and the woman flips out because she thinks she’s not pretty enough for him anymore. Have never seen that one before. But it’s going to get better, more original, more imaginative. Right? It’s Judd Apatow, afterall. Please.

Wrong. I’m not going to bore you with a ton of plot points, it’s not really worth it. But if kids cursing, adults cursing at kids, the generations hating each other’s music, and a million other mid life crisis clichés are your cup of tea, by all means go for it. Just be warned that you’ll see every joke coming from several miles away. At one point, we were set up for the 11th or 12th scene where either an adult was screaming and cursing at a child (or vise, versa, or screaming at another adult, maybe, it all sort of ran together eventually). The kid looked like a little Tom Petty. I said to my wife, “That kid looks like a little Tom Petty.” Then Leslie Mann said in the movie, “You look like a little Tom Petty.”

Most of the movie was that predictable. When you’re telling the jokes before they happen, they’re usually not that funny. Add in the fact that it goes on and on for the 2 hours and 15 minutes I mentioned earlier, with most of the last half of it having a super strong undercurrent of misery and, to be honest, meanness and really, you just want it to end. And the editing and pacing. It was all over the place. I actually thought at one point that we were watching a rough cut. I couldn’t believe it was meant to flow, or not flow, the way it was moving (or not moving). It was jarring, nonsensical, and disappointing, particularly from the people involved. Quick aside, by the way, regarding one of the people involved and clichés.  Will someone please find another role for the, by all accounts, talented Melissa McCarthy other than an overbearing, screeching person. It’s played out. Thank you.

All of this might have been harmless cream puffery without the meanness involved from it trying to be “real”. Plus, other than Rudd and Mann, all the other performances seemed mailed in. John Lithgow as Mann’s father, I think, may have literally mailed in his performance. I never saw his facial expression change the entire time he was on screen. I highly suspect his appearance was a cardboard cutout facsimile of him, sent via UPS, with a voiceover dubbed in later.

You know what, let me stop. The thing is, I like Paul Rudd. And Leslie Mann. And Judd Apatow. I’ll give them a break and a free pass on this wild misfire. I am more than happy to see what they come up with next. But I still felt like you need to be warned to stay away from this one. If it was a 90 minute movie and somewhat funnier it might be worth a Netflix stream, but at a bloated, relentless 135 minutes, watch a few episodes of your favorite TV show instead.

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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in General Film, Reviews


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