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The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
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Judd Apatow adds another vulgar but surprisingly pleasing comedy to his credential list with This is 40. The supposed sequel to the 2007 hit Knocked Up with several recycled cast members, fans of his earlier films (which include the 40-Year-Old Virgin and Funny people) may take a particular liking here...especially if they have a high tolerance for extreme bathroom humor and language! The term "middle age" gets a new meaning here as the story focuses on Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (who reprise their roles from Knocked Up) who find themselves searching for ways to justify their marriage more than ever when the first 40th birthday comes about. What comes next is a downhill spiral with one fighting match after the next as the couple goes at it constantly in addition to their teenage daughter. Both adults start to then question if the passion in their marriage will ever return. Like most of Apatow's films, this one is long in the extreme and covers more ground than it needs to (with some odd subplots including a random pregnancy!). Yet, the good performances all around (especially by Iris Apatow, the real life daughter of Apatow and Mann) make it watchable in addition to a flavorful supporting cast which includes Megan Fox, Charlene Yi, Albert Brooks and John Lithgow. Perhaps a bit excessive in the "family drama" department, but still not far from the truth. Just try not to get too used to the F-bomb after seeing this one. Those dreading the thought of reaching the "over the hill" age may especially get a rise out of this one in addition to those who like to "have at it" with certain family members. As always, some may look on their life values differently after seeing a film like this and appreciate everything they have more every day.
Vampire fans, we know many of you cannot wait until the next Twilight movie comes out. Luckily, Underworld has another installment called Underworld: Awakening. Recycling many elements from the first three films yet adding new material in addition, this franchise proves to be another one we may never see the end of. The fourth film in the Underworld series finds Selene (Kate Beckinsale still holding the lead role strongly) showing humans who is the boss when they discover the existence of the Lycan clan and war breaks out in no time flat. Salvaging the battle between mortals vs. immortals seems like an easy task for her, but other baggage emerges regarding her long lost daughter and everything she gave up when turning to the dark side. Though not much different than most would expect, this installment proves to be another one with some elements worth waiting for (a few decent action scenes, appropriate filming locations and a quick pace). But like most other films of the genre, it clearly is aimed at devout franchise fans more forgiving than most. Feminists may appreciate another film with the lead character being a female (especially in an action movie), but would they approve of them going on killing sprees with innocent civilians (or perhaps not so innocent)? This one should please most fans, though it also seems to come off as strictly a continuation of the story, which some may be tired of following nearly a decade after the beginning of the series. This one, however is the first to be released theatrically in 3D and IMAX. Coincidentally, it also shares a release date with Underworld: Evolution. Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy decided not to reprise their roles in this one, which may indicate something in addition to the film not being screened by critics in advance.
A family flick mostly forgotten by today (and mostly for good reason); Magic in the Water was made seemingly to take up space in theatres until better films were released. Combining intriguing elements like a rumored sea creature living in the nearby lake with other components like father and child relationships, one may have high hopes for this one. Sadly, most will be disappointed by the long stretches of boringness leading to the dull conclusion. This promising yet dismal premise finds young Ashley (played by a charmingly cute Sarah Wayne in her only film to date) joining her brother and father on a vacation to a lake near British Columbia where legend has it that a sea creature named "Orky" inhabits the water. The young girl becomes officially convinced this legend is true when she leaves some cookies on a doc and they are magically eaten the next day. Coincidence??? Whether this premise may be considered fascinating or entirely too corny will depend on the viewer's tolerance for straight up absurdity. Yes it is a fantasy, but this seemingly is just a copycat job of earlier (and better) Steven Spielberg movies. Some viewers may look deeper into the fact that the father and daughter relationship factor seems to be the prime focus, but the job does not quite get done here. An appealing cast does its best, but they've all surely done better projects before and after (save for Wayne). Though some sentimental viewers may remember this one fondly (if they were a VERY undemanding youngster), few will argue that there is nothing here that has not been done better in other family/fantasy films. One would think that a film with a good cast, attractive filming locations and overall good intentions would produce better results. Don't get your hopes up, folks!