This is 40
by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
Everyone remember Knocked Up? It was a little film that came out in 2007 starring Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl in which Allison (Heigl) gets “knocked up” by Ben (Rogen). This is 40 is being touted as the sequel, but in reality, it stands on its own. There isn’t even a cameo by Rogen or Heigl! And personally, I thought this film was much bigger on the laughs. It focuses on another couple from its predecessor: Debbie (Leslie Mann), Allison’s sister, and her husband Pete (Paul Rudd). Judd Apatow acted as writer, producer and director; and I know what you’re thinking, when does he sleep? I believe on Sundays.
The life of a married couple isn’t easy and This is 40 looks into what it takes to make marriage successful, even when divorce may seem like the easier option. We catch up with Pete, Debbie and their two daughters, Sadie and Charlotte. Debbie is on the verge of turning forty years old and refuses to admit it. Her body is starting to sag in places she doesn’t quite like and she has her own store where a young, hot body (Megan Fox) works the counter. This only makes her feel worse, causing her to long for the days of being young.
On the other hand, Pete is having trouble running his unsuccessful record label and is looking for that “spark” to generate interest and revenue. He has a comeback scheduled for Graham Parker and the Rumors, but that just doesn’t look too promising with today’s audience. He’s also stuck at home with three women and continuously feels guilted into giving his father money. Plus, there’s the little issue of about $13,000 dollars going missing from Debbie’s store and fingers are being pointed in all directions. It’s a dysfunctional life all around.
Apatow takes a different approach with this film. It would have been easy for him to go the more “sexual” course with dialogue and certain scenes, but instead he plays it out as it typically happens in real life. The fights couples have, the fights between children in which parents have to intervene, the tears that come from arguments or just being honest with one another, and the reality of dealing with aging and knowing you aren’t as you as you used to be. Apatow hits all these points and makes the film relatable to each member of his audience. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of crude humor, and it is absolutely hilarious, but that’s just secondary to the underlying theme of family and making a relationship work.
In terms of performances, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are really the focal points of the story and the weight of carrying the film is squarely on them. Thankfully, they are successful with this endeavor. Of surprise to me were the performances of the young actresses that played the daughters, who just happen to be the daughters of Apatow and Mann. They were more than believable in their roles and some of the best bits come from them. It probably didn’t hurt that they are sisters off set as it added another degree of believability to their roles. In terms of other supporting characters, Megan Fox is really there to look pretty, Jason Segel reprises his Knocked Up role and appears on a smaller scale, but he’s still funny; and Chris O’Dowd is great in his brief appearances. Also in the film is Charlyne Yi, who we previously saw during the last season of House. She has one of the funniest lines of the film, but I won’t give that away.
This is 40 was truly a family affair for Apatow, and due to his eye for detail and bringing out what many people see or experience on a daily basis, we’re left with one of the funniest and most relatable films of 2012. There’s really something in it for everyone, and although it does run a little long (around two hours and fifteen minutes), there’s enough content to where it never gets boring. 2012 is almost done and with This is 40, it’s going out on a positive note!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars