Note: This Is 40 opens everywhere December 21. We saw an early screening made possible by Film Independent at LACMA. 

For 132 minutes, This Is 40 is non-stop Judd Apatow. The jokes; the emotions; his wife; his kids; and maybe a bit too much of the writer/director’s personality. It’s a jackhammer of propulsive character action that shoves everything you need to know in your face every second. Which is both a blessing and a curse.

Almost instantly, the film demands we relate to Pete and Debbie (played by Paul Rudd, and Leslie Mann, married to Apatow in real life), an upper middle-class married couple. They’re each celebrating their 40th birthday in the same week. Apatow doesn’t care about setting these people up; we’re just dropped into their lives as they struggle with the issues that arise when you hit the big four-oh.

Thankfully, Apatow knows how to make us laugh and This Is 40 does that on an almost too-constant basis. There are so many laughs you’ll miss other laughs. Without a strong story to hold to outside of the loose concept of “turning forty,” however, the movie tends to lose its way, then find it, then lose it, then find it again. This happens right up to – and during – the final credits. It’s a mixed bag with lots to like but lots of problems too. Read More »

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