This is 40
Judd Apatow’s self-seeking self-analysis aims for blunt honesty, but is simply dull
Writer/director Judd Apatow’s reign as the modern king of comedy comes to an abrupt end with the bland miscalculation of This is 40, a self-seeking slice of self-analysis which verges on self-abuse. Setting itself up as a ‘sort-of sequel’ to Knocked Up, Apatow’s 134-minute movie doesn’t feature the central pairing of Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl at all, but instead focuses on their less-interesting friends Pete and Debbie, once again played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann.
Supposedly happily married in sundrenched LA, Pete and Debbie are presented as struggling with their inner demons as they pass the milestone age. The Apatow formula has provided sure-fire crowd-pleasing comedies like Superbad and Bridesmaids, and This is 40 harks back to happier days with entertaining cameos from Jason Segel as a vain fitness instructor, Chris O’Dowd as a caustic music-industry exec, and Melissa McCarthy as a foul-mouthed parent.
But these brief scenes provide little reward for sitting through the protracted mechanics of Pete and Debbie’s squabbles. By casting both his wife (Mann) and children in the central roles, Apatow seems to be offering autobiography as entertainment, but while aiming for blunt honesty, This is 40 is simply dull.
General release from Thu 14 Feb.