‘This is 40’ rambles, but it’s laugh-out-loud hilarious
“This is 40,” a romantic comedy directed by Judd Apatow and starring Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann and John Lithgow, rambles a lot, but its hilarious laugh lines make it worth sitting through.
Seattle Times movie critic
“This Is 40,” with Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Jason Segel, Albert Brooks. Written and directed by Judd Apatow. 134 minutes. Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language and some drug material. Several theaters.
Judd Apatow’s “This Is 40” arrives just in time for the holidays, with a stockingful of funny lines that made me laugh out loud. A few of them: a teenage girl’s dismissive description of “Mad Men” as “a bunch of people smoking in an office”; a music-industry executive noting that “it’s hard to watch a band when you know they all remember D-Day”; and Melissa McCarthy giving her comedic all to the line “I have very high nipples.” (I suspect McCarthy could make pretty much anything funny; if only she’d been in the “Twilight” movies.)
Many other witty bits pepper the screenplay, certainly enough to propel “This Is 40” into the ranks of the year’s funnier movies. The problem is what happens in between. A sort of midlife-crisis romantic comedy, “This Is 40” focuses on Pete (Paul Rudd) and his wife, Debbie (Leslie Mann), whom we previously met as supporting characters in Apatow’s “Knocked Up.” Here, they’re both turning 40 and facing typical middle-age problems: They’re not so young anymore; their kids — and their parents — drive them nuts; they’ve got money worries, sex worries, health worries, marriage worries. He eats too many cupcakes; she secretly smokes; and though both look uncannily and glamorously youthful, they fret about aging.
As is typical with Apatow’s movies, this one is bloated (at 134 minutes, it could easily lose half an hour) and unfocused; it rambles along for lengthy periods without much happening, except for the daughters (played by Apatow’s real-life kids, Maude and Iris) and Pete and Debbie squabbling. It’s hard to take this perfect-looking duo’s issues very seriously (McCarthy, who breezes briefly into the movie and effortlessly steals it, describes Pete and Debbie as a “bank-commercial couple”), and maybe “This Is 40” works better if you don’t. It’s not so much a movie as a loose collection of mostly funny conversations; and maybe, for the holidays, laughter is almost gift enough.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or email@example.com