In all actuality, I would have rather sat through "Knocked Up" again, then this sort-of sequel to "Knocked Up". Directed by Judd Apatow and starring Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann (Apatow's wife) and their two young daughters, "This Is 40" documents Pete and Debbie (the married couple from "Knocked Up") a few years after "Knocked Up". But that short synopsis is sort of misleading since this is not so much a narrative as it is a scattering of thoughts within a film that is in dire need of some editing. And even though Apatow is infamous for adding a 4th act and making his films about 30 minutes too long, "This Is 40" is the first of these films which had me checking my watch multiple times...and therein lies the problem. I am not saying that Apatow's writing is hindered by his need to go off on his classically overlong comedic tangents every other scene. The problem here is that most of these comedic tangents aren't funny, in turn bogging the film down into the meandering wasteland. Suffice to say, this is clearly Apatow's worst film yet.
While I understand that "This Is 40" is the sort-of sequel to "Knocked-Up" (except without Katherine Heigl or Seth Rogan) most of the supporting characters here seem to be a hodgepodge of rehashed ideas from past Apatow hits. You get the weird Asian female side character, the vulgar best friend, a main male character that is kind of a weenie and the female character who is just trying to keep it together. And even though Rudd really tries hard to save this movie by doing his best Paul Rudd impersonation, and Albert Brooks (who plays Pete's mooch of a father) as well as the youngest Apatow have some incredibly funny lines (topped off with even funnier delivery) this will all seem like old hat. Which raises the question: Why would anybody pay $10 to see a watered down version of Apatow's old material?
As for Mann, who finally gets her time to shine (as she is the main focus of the film) her performance is just OK. She has one or two funny lines and gets to do some dramatic crying faces, but overall she is nothing special here.
Final Thought: To say that I didn't much care for "This Is 40" because I'm not 40 and just didn't understand, is a simple cop out which will undoubtedly be used by people who are probably finding it harder and harder to defend Apatow's storytelling. Only about 10% of the jokes here are laugh out loud funny, while 50% don't work at all, and the rest is a 2 1/2 hour film filled with a slathering of chuckle inducing dramedy. Truthfully, most of the time watching "This Is 40" will be spent disparately waiting for the next joke to come; so much so that by the end, this movie will be seen as eerily reminiscent to those failed Farrelly Brothers movies of the early 2000's. In other words, for most people "This Is 40" will be a mostly boring, drawn out, and very unsatisfying disappointment.
Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Follow me @moviesmarkus