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This is 40

January 9, 2013

This is 40 movie poster

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This is 40 is unpredictable yet predictable. It is a Judd Apatow film to the fullest and maxes out the running time yet never overstays its welcome. It is easily the most critically divided of his four films. The 40 Year Old Virgin 86%, Knocked Up 90%, Funny People 68% and now 40 is at 51% on Rotten Tomatoes. I hate breaking down films to numbers but I find the downward slope interesting. If you look at Judd’s first two films they focused on lovable shlubs whom embark on different sexual ventures which push them towards maturity. What followed were lessons learned, hair removed and multiple cases of pink eye. Take a look at the early posters and you will notice a successful trend.

knocked up movie poster

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40 year old virgin

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You cheered for the men and women in the films because their situations were not caused by selfishness or mistakes. Their problems were universal in odd and humorous ways. There was excessive improvisation in both but it never felt gratuitous. Now, that critics and moviegoers know Apatow’s shtick they have become less forgiving towards the running time and mixture of disjointed scenes that fill out the movie. This is 40 is not a film about misfits, shlubs or depressed movie stars. It is the story of two people who love each other yet struggle with getting old and all that goes with it. 

This is 40 family

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I understand the backlash of This is 40. There is a scene where Paul Rudd is crying in his car over financial woes. The problem is that he is sitting in a beautiful BMW that many less fortunate people dream about owning. His house is beautiful and he has a $30,000 neon sign in his office. It becomes grating watching him hide his problems while everything else gets worse around him. The biggest problem I have with Rudd is that tries to push Alice in Chains Snub the Rooster on his family. I grew up in the grunge era and that song always hurt my soul and I longed for Collective Soul or Pearl Jam songs to get the warbling Rooster out of my system.

There are moments in the film that ring true. For instance, after a massive fight Rudd and Mann look at each other and wonder “why do we fight.” The two love each other immensely yet can’t help but fight over every little thing. They laugh about the fight then fight about something dumb. Their small arguments mask the larger issues going on around them. While she is angry that he is eating muffins she doesn’t know he has given his father $80,000. Of course, after much dialogue the two move towards the next chapter of their marriage.

This is 40 Paul Rudd

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My problem with This is 40 is that there is zero subtetly. Co-writer John joked that The Dark Knight Rises directors commentary would feature Christopher Nolan saying absolutely nothing because he said it all on screen. Apatow gives you everything and more in form of articulate arguments, long monologues and no thought unspoken. When you are told everything it takes the fun out of it. You are a passive audience member listening to characters tell you the entire story. It all sounds very ‘written.” There are neat truthful moments and if you’ve been in a relationship you’ve experienced the highs, lows and arguments that are totally unnecessary. I had no problem with the disjointed scenes and random moments that make up this film. Life rarely fits into a three part structure. However, This is 40 seems overproduced because of the source material. In Knocked Up Rudd/Mann’s relationship was fun because of the mystery involved (not like in the poster above). Mann thought Rudd was cheating but found out he was sneaking out to fantasy league drafts and Spider Man. The Spider Man revelation lead to the neat line “I like Spiderman.”

I appreciated This is 40. I understood it but I won’t watch it again. I bet it was a blast to film and it seems like everybody making it thought it was great. Check out the bloopers on Funny or Die.

Apatow films always had an aura of surprise but not with this one. He finally reached into an overproduced world of two characters who talk way too much.  I loved seeing Jason Segel and Chris O’Dowd hitting on Megan Fox though.

This is 40 megan fox

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This is 40 Megan Fox bravia

2 Comments leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    January 14, 2013 9:22 pm

    I love it! You quoted my opinion of a bloated epic action-turned-over-monologued-drama and applied it to a blunt, tactless comedic romp that I haven’t even seen but am dying to see.

    You also quote Rudd’s “I like Spider-Man.” Yet both of us have loads of complaints about both the Tobey and Andrew Spider-Man franchises.

    You’re quoting knows no limits!

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