This is 40 Reviews
Driven by crass, foul-mouthed, bone-dry sitcom staples, this highly observant ferociously sadistic satire drowns in its desperate grab for laughs. Woefully unfunny and boringly labored, the verbose sprawling editing and repetitive scrapbook script literally pauses in the middle of punch-lines as if to savor the flavor of a joke, but for a full 134 minutes. Seriously.
For Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) life is anything but tranquil, this goes double for the week they celebrate their milestone 40th birthdays. In an affluent suburb with their two daughters, the pubescent 14 year old Sadie (Maude Apatow) and curious 8 year old Charlotte (Iris Apatow), life is coming unglued at white-picket seems.
Constantly in denial about his state of affairs, Pete's alternative indie-record label teeters on bankruptcy; his sponge father (Albert Brooks) guilt's him into lending a small fortune to support his young IVF family; he has a dreadful cupcake dependency and to top it off in the throes of steamy shower passion reveals to Debbie he uses Viagra to turbo charge their interludes.
For her part, Debbie is preoccupied by money disappearing from her clothing boutique and suspicion lies with either the hot flush-with-cash employee (Megan Fox) or the quirky emotional employee (Charlyne Yi); she is attempting to find emotional common ground with her estranged absentee father (John Lithgow); She simply can't quit smoking and her daughters can't function alone for five minutes without interrupting a quickie blow -job.
Actively tolerating each other, the couple decides the only course is to plough headlong into a crisis. Attempting to better their lives they embrace new goals, make healthier choices, lessen dependency on food and electronic crutches, face financial woes and family challenges but if she is a nag and he is evasive, can they find their way back to a marriage based on love or just keep it together out of obligation?
Although entertaining as fringe characters in Knocked up, the carelessly bubbling Pete and his panicky-shrill wife are two-dimensional leads. Consumed by their middle-class issues, vapid characters are bereft of any genuine audience sympathy and I found myself wanting to sneer at their pettiness. Cameos by Lithgow and Melissa McCarthy are far more worthwhile than this film deserved.
The Verdict: Left flat from the movies formless trajectory and overplayed petty marital resentments, the myriad of F-bombs come across as juvenile and unnecessary stripping it of any niceties or subtlety. Some may find this supposedly accurate reflection of our time funny, but according to a number of people in my screening, it was merely sleep inducing.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 25/01/2013