I read a lot of criticism about this movie long before I saw it on DVD months after release. Two of the most vocal were that – along with his clout – Judd Apatow is too self-indulgent with editing and running times, and that ”This Is 40” (like ”Funny People”) was overlong and undisciplined.
The other was that audiences would have a very hard time sympathising with people coming into hard times when they have cool jobs, live in a gigantic house and appear only to have to go to work when they want to. I think the term for it is a ‘west of the 405’ movie, because when people who live west of the infamous Los Angeles freeway lose a few million off their property value or stock options they think they’re dirt poor.
Both criticisms are valid, but like ”Funny People”, this isn’t strictly a comedy, it’s a drama with comic elements, more Apatow’s ”Terms of Endearment” than ”Knocked Up 2”.
Pete (Rudd) and Debbie (Mann), who we last met in ”Knocked Up”, are hovering around 40. Their respective businesses are suffering, their daughters are growing up too fast and in the midst of it all, romance and mystery is flying out of the window amid the chaos life has become.
There’s less a story than a series of vignettes about the pair trying not to argue over every little point, maintain some semblance of order in their home, keep themselves solvent and stay in love. Most of them are tinged with realism that Apatow occasionally lets off the leash in moments of comedy-movie humour, and even though the criticisms of ‘those poor rich people’ are valid it’s heartfelt and genuine.
Mann, her and Apatow’s own kids and Rudd are ably supported by a huge cast characters, some of whom are more caricatures than anything just because of their limited screen time, but it felt satisfyingly full – despite the length I was never bored.
Extras : The DVD contains three minutes or so of footage you didn’t catch in cinemas.