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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Leslie Mann
Paul Rudd
John Lithgow
Megan Fox
Albert Brooks

Jason Segel
Chris O'Dowd.
Directors
Judd Apatow.
Screenwriters
Judd Apatow.
Running Time
134 minutes

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This Is 40
Skits from a marriage


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Plot
On the eve of their 40th birthdays, Pete (Rudd) and his wife Debbie (Mann) re-examine their relationship with their children, their parents and each other, while bankruptcy looms for Pete’s record label.


Review
This Is 40
Let's face it, the 'plot' of Judd Apatow’s latest comedy isn’t as instantly grabby as Knocked Up, the hit 2007 film to which This Is40 is billed as a “sort-of sequel”, despite the absence of that film’s stars, Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen, and the elevation of Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (Apatow’s real-life missus) to centre stage. In fact, there’s precious little plot to speak of — even less than Apatow’s last film as writer-director, 2009’s critically lauded but publicly derided Funny People. Those less than amused by that film were apt to blame Apatow’s loosey-goosey, semi-improvisational style for its patience-testing running time and narrative tangents, while those who loved it — this magazine included — would have been happy to spend another hour with Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and others of the Apatow ensemble. In one sense, This Is 40 falls somewhere between the two films: while not as plot-driven or broadly targeted as Knocked Up (and even less so than The 40 Year-Old Virgin), it is less ramshackle and more relatable than Funny People, a film which, in retrospect, seems to have set out the stall for Apatow’s future output, focusing more on tugging the heart strings than tickling the ribs.

In Knocked Up, record label executive Pete (Rudd) and his wife Debbie (Mann) were having low-grade marital difficulties, largely stemming from man-child Pete’s unwillingness to accept his fate as a husband and father of two children, Sadie and Charlotte (played, in further reality-blurring, by Apatow’s own girls, Maude and Iris), and Debbie’s resentment towards Pete for various transgressions, including sneaking off to play fantasy baseball. Five years on, their issues are a little more serious; not exactly life-threatening, more lifestyle-threatening. Pete’s failing business — started, he reveals tellingly, because he couldn’t get a job — and the debts incurred by his mooching father (a pitch-perfect Albert Brooks) means the family home may have to be sold. Meanwhile, Debbie has to deal with an employee (a breezy Megan Fox) who may be stealing from her jewellery shop, and a daughter being bullied on Facebook, even as she struggles to connect with the two emotionally distant men in her life: not only her husband, but also her estranged father (John Lithgow).

Such issues may be of little interest to the traditional demographic of Apatow’s ‘early, funny films’. To anyone close to the age milestone of the title, however, This Is 40 has a true-to-life feel that places it closer in spirit to Parenthood than the faux-family atmosphere of the Focker films. Although one might expect the absence of Knocked Up’s Alison and Ben to be keenly felt (at one point, Pete does play iPad scrabble with Ben), what makes the central pair’s problems worthy of their own film is a combination of Apatow’s script and the down-to-earth performances, especially from the Apatow clan. Wondering which elements were directly drawn from their own family life adds an additional level of intrigue.

Not everything works: Chris O’Dowd and Girls’ Lena Dunham (as Pete’s work colleagues), and Jason Segel (one of Ben’s feckless friends in Knocked Up, now Debbie’s personal trainer), seem to exist primarily to provide some slacker-scatological laughs, while the jewellery-store subplot adds to the pervasive feeling that we’re watching an extended edition. Despite these shortcomings, and the lengthy running time, This Is 40 has enough laugh-out-loud moments to make it an early contender for comedy of the year.


Verdict
With his fourth film as writer-director, Judd Apatow has arguably made his most personal film yet, without forgetting to make us laugh.


Reviewed by David Hughes

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for This Is 40
Empire Star Rating

Yes, this film is long and could have probably ended half an hour early, but the point is that this film THROUGHOUT has a lot of heart, a lot of laughs and a lot of what you'd expect from an Apatow production. This is a brilliant portrayal of family life and keeping the magic alive. Although, at times, you have to pinch yourself and realise that you're watching the oh-so-woe-is-me problems of a middle class white American family (with a designer store and a record label) but the struggles are re... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danfacey711 at 18:04, 03 October 2014 | Report This Post


grrrrr Empire

I watched this because you gave it a 4 star review and said it was up for comedy of the year. Jeez thanks for nothing Empire. While it had a few laughable cameo moments - it was too fucken long, and painful, even with a half-naked megan fox. Even with characters that I liked - listening to them shout at each other for the over-long running time is not entertainment. Just made me thankful I didn't have kids is all. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Samurai7 at 08:51, 18 March 2014 | Report This Post


this is 40000 hours of arguing!

I loved the 4o year old virgin but since then his films have got consecutivly worse, less funny and more sentimentally trite, culminating in this which is basicallly 5 hours of annoying americans arguing in that inept way they have, 3 jokes (the best being references to Megan foxes vagina) and iritating movie brats talking about lost. Avoid! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by extremetee at 00:35, 12 September 2013 | Report This Post


Stunningly Average

It was....okay. I am close to 40 but not having a nice house I can't afford or kids, it wasn't really all that close to my life so I can't relate to that aspect. Paul Rudd is always worth watching and the supporting cast are also likeable. Apart from Megan Fox, who I'm getting really sick of: her entire purpose seems to be so that men in the movie can stare at her and say "ooh, she's hot". She has no other reason for being in movies, because she certainly is not a good actress. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Fletch at 18:26, 28 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: DVD review

L: elab49 L: dseys L: elab49 L: dseys Funny how this was downgraded to 2 poor star in the DVD review section of Empire's last issue :-) eally, why? I mean most people understand that different people reviewing the same thing might have different opinions and this isn't exactly rare. Not to mention people can change their own minds. So why was this so unusual here? didn't say it was unusual. Of course different people have different opinion, but the... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dseys at 08:37, 24 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: This Is 40

Personally, I think Empire should preface each review with: "Film is subjective, and Empire is not run by a hive mind. Thank you" ... More

Posted by MonsterCat at 19:53, 23 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: DVD review

L: dseys L: elab49 L: dseys Funny how this was downgraded to 2 poor star in the DVD review section of Empire's last issue :-) eally, why? I mean most people understand that different people reviewing the same thing might have different opinions and this isn't exactly rare. Not to mention people can change their own minds. So why was this so unusual here? didn't say it was unusual. Of course different people have different opinion, but the published review i... More

Posted by elab49 at 19:39, 23 June 2013 | Report This Post


Watching this, you can actually feel your nails grow

This is quite simply the most boring film I've seen in my life - absolutely nothing happens. I'm turning it off less than halfway through and am still regretting the time I wasted on it. ... More

Posted by bendoofus at 18:53, 23 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: DVD review

L: elab49 L: dseys Funny how this was downgraded to 2 poor star in the DVD review section of Empire's last issue :-) eally, why? I mean most people understand that different people reviewing the same thing might have different opinions and this isn't exactly rare. Not to mention people can change their own minds. So why was this so unusual here? didn't say it was unusual. Of course different people have different opinion, but the published review is kind of "Empire'... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dseys at 16:52, 20 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: This Is 40

L: UTB I hope your eyebrows fall off. a! e sir! ... More

Posted by Dannybohy at 09:12, 20 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: This Is 40

I hope your eyebrows fall off. ... More

Posted by UTB at 15:17, 19 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: This Is 40

Well while this is here I might as well just say ..yeah I was pleasantly surprised! and enough charm and humor to make for a decent movie. i enjoyed it. ... More

Posted by Dannybohy at 13:08, 19 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: DVD review

She chose a good one to start with ... More

Posted by elab49 at 10:23, 19 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: DVD review

This is probably the first film I've ever heard Mrs UTB say "It was fucking shit!!". And she has a pretty high bobbins tolerance level. And doesn't really swear often. ... More

Posted by UTB at 10:16, 19 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: DVD review

L: dseys Funny how this was downgraded to 2 poor star in the DVD review section of Empire's last issue :-) eally, why? I mean most people understand that different people reviewing the same thing might have different opinions and this isn't exactly rare. Not to mention people can change their own minds. So why was this so unusual here? ... More

Posted by elab49 at 09:55, 19 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: DVD review

This is not 40. ... More

Posted by bennyboy1971 at 06:33, 19 June 2013 | Report This Post


DVD review

Funny how this was downgraded to 2 poor star in the DVD review section of Empire's last issue :-) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dseys at 17:06, 17 June 2013 | Report This Post


this is 40

The Apatow/Mann clan does it again. Light-hearted yet often bittersweet romp about turning the big 4-0 (or 38, for those still in denial). Carrying on with the Paul Rudd/Leslie Mann coupling from Knocked Up, director Judd Apatow (Mann’s real-life partner) has concocted this fun light film for all. Which even manages to drop the C-word. America is beginning to get it in terms of fresh and applicable comedy, I reckon. Pete and Debbie are at ‘that stage’ in life – about to enter the b... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Conboy at 16:12, 08 June 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Not groundbreaking, but found it really entertaining

SPOILERS ALERT! Only just around to watching it last night. Enjoyed it, but not unconditionally, and there's nothing that would make me want to watch it again. 3* film, I'd say. My impressions: - There isn't much of a plot, no defined 'start-middle-end', or even the dreaded three-act structure. If I'm being polite, I'd say it's 'picaresque'; if not, I'd say the structure is rambling. There isn't a satisfying conclusion, more a point where it just stops but could easily go on for an... More

Posted by BelfastBoy at 13:02, 02 May 2013 | Report This Post


Not groundbreaking, but found it really entertaining

Couldn't agree with the review more. Definitely more Parenthood than Meet The Parents, and some really nice observational comedy of what family and relationships mean these days. If it had a stronger story, and done without the comedy interludes of Megan Fox / Chris O Dowd / Jason Segel, it could have been a better film - not that they weren't funny, they just didn't belong here. Still really enjoyable fun though, and you come away from it feeling warm in the heart. Job done. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by djshaiguy at 16:37, 23 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: This is 40

I enjoyed it, although it was nowhere near the same level of Knocked Up. Think the main problem(s) was that it lacked both the narrative driving point and ensemble of different supporting characters its predecessor did. Robert Smigel's character felt like it was the leftovers of a role intended for Seth Rogen's Ben, and whilst I never expected to Katherine Heigl's Alison given the public falling out with Judd Apatow, it was a bit odd that her sister didn't even get mentioned, especially at Pete... More

Posted by Vadersville at 18:53, 22 February 2013 | Report This Post


RE: A staggering lack of effort all round.

God,what a smug-fest of a film. I also don't find Paul Rudd in any form humorous or engaging as a lead. Plus,I don't think I've ever enjoyed a Judd Apatow film (Bridesmaids doesn't count because he produced it but he didn't direct,plus he didn't write the script either. ... More

Posted by OPEN YOUR EYES at 10:52, 21 February 2013 | Report This Post


A staggering lack of effort all round.

A two and a quarter hour midlife crisis with a toilet-joke every 15 minutes. I'm actually scared for Anchorman 2. Apatow's musician friends can't act. One of Apatow's daughters can't act. 40% amusing. 30% irritating. 30% dull. Not good enough. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 00:33, 19 February 2013 | Report This Post


Lazy, lazy, lazy.

134 minutes with a script so good it needed ad-libs. Note to Leslie Mann. Announcing what you're feeling all the time is not acting. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Loosecrew at 14:17, 18 February 2013 | Report This Post


Pretty bad.

So smugly and snugly up its own ass that is can't see how bad it is. for Racism ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 21:08, 17 February 2013 | Report This Post


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