Spencer's Review of This is 40
This is 40(2012)
This is a very tricky film to review, because like most critics I am split between an utter obsessive love for most of the film, and a disconnect with what it is at its worst. At its best this film is about getting older, family life, sex, awkwardness, the dilemma of being in an unhappy marriage, and money troubles. Of the four Judd Apatow helmed films that he's directed there hasn't been one so focused on the day to day experiences of an average family or the support of an extensive family. We saw a wisp of that in "Knocked Up" this film's predecessor, but that was more about becoming an adult and experiencing life as a parent, even if it's an unconventional life at that. This is more about the misery and trite exchanges between too very flawed and caustic individuals. Their misery does bring down the audience, since their toxic relationship issues involve so much fighting, yelling, and a lack of understanding for their misadjusted kids. This family is so familiar and yet alien to me, and though I appreciate Apatow for bringing the struggles of the middle aged in better focus for those who believe it's a wedding day and the rest of your life on a platter, it's so tragically sad. That being said, it's immensely funny, from the very first scene to the breakdown of their ability to stomach one another, it's always trying to be eccentric and neurotic, which I appreciated. The supporting performances from Megan Fox, Lena Dunham, Chris O'Dowd, Melissa McCarthy, and Maude and Iris Apatow were amazing and some of their best work so far. Besides the tragic tone though, is the fact that there's no discernible plot to this. They weave between bettering themselves, get lost in something else altogether, ruin themselves with their different endeavors, and then the film simply ends without true resolution. Besides the fact that it has no exact moment of clarity or closure or even answers some basic questions, it feels ungodly long for a comedy film, clocking in at two and a quarter hours. It dragged its feet so much and then speedily ended itself to keep from going even longer, and that simply defeats the purpose entirely. A very good effort, and much more than I expected from a semi-sequel, but it just didn't grab hold of what it was trying to say without it getting garbled.