Judd Apatow’s sort of sequel to Knocked Up, This Is 40, is in theatres now. It catches up with Debbie and Pete’s characters and shows what life at 40 is like in their shoes, and its filled to the brim with Apatow’s signature brand of adult fart jokes. So how does it do? Is it good for a laugh, or should Apatow work on growing up himself?
Judd Apatow’s flicks sit in a weird place with me. Part of me wants to like it because its filled with really immature humor, but the other part can’t get past it being shoehorned into a flick targeted at 30 somethings and made for the “date night” crowd. Its like he makes movies for women, but puts in copious amounts of gross out jokes and drug references to not bore the hell out of the guys. Sometimes it feels forced, while sometimes its genuinely funny. Its a tight rope to walk. And unfortunately, this is one that can barely keep it together.
Also, this happened.
The story is pretty loose. It follows the exploits of Debbie and Pete, the unhappily married couple from Knocked Up, and their life as Debbie hits 40. It really tries to put a comedic spin on some pretty normal life events, and most of the time it just feels boring. They deal with failing personal businesses, failing sex lives, and various other family issues. The plot has never really been the strong point of any of his flicks, but this one seems even looser than normal. It just kind of floats by, and afterwards you’ll be hard pressed to really recall anything that happened. With a boring cast, this would have been a horrible movie. Luckily though, the cast is pretty solid. Paul Rudd plays his disgruntled with life everyman well in this one, and I think has really dialed in the character since he pretty much plays the same person in almost every movie he’s done the past few years. He’s funny, and he puts just the right amount of emotion in to make his character feel real. Even though I’m not that old, Apatow makes everything feel relate-able.
If you’ve seen any of the other movies he’s had his hand in, especially directing, you mostly know how this is going to play out. They’res plenty of jokes, plenty of rants, and a good amount of profanity for good measure. It’s not that some of the jokes and humor isn’t funny, it just seems sort of out of place in a movie about hitting 40. I know that’s kind of the point but it really just feels out of place sometimes, and other times it feels completely forced. Not to say I didn’t have a good laugh here or there, but it just felt unbalanced. In one hand you have a serious movie about the pitfalls of being married, 40, and in a rut, but in the other hand there’s fart jokes and humor that just feels pretty hamfisted at times. It’s hard to take some of the events in the movie seriously when almost every scene ends with some sort of joke.
Maybe I’m just a little shy of the target audience, but this one just didn’t hit anything with me. If anything, it showed me that getting to that age just plain sucks, and to just deal with it. I’m still confused if that’s the point to be made, though. It’s good for a few laughs, and if you’re a fan of Paul Rudd, you’ll enjoy it. If you’re looking for a date night movie, or something really enjoyable, there’s better out there. Its not bad, but by god it sure ain’t all that good.
2 out of 5