Jeff's Review of This is 40
This is 40(2012)
Judd Apatow has represented my generation perfectly for the past decade or more with gems like "The 40 Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up" and the underrated "Funny People." The trailers for "This is 40" appeared to be leading him to another notch in his belt as he hits the mark more often than not, even if represented in outrageous or vulgar ways. Unfortunately, "This is 40" misses the mark in the most surprising of ways for a Judd Apatow movie. As a man who turned 40 this year, I spent the first half of the movie relating to just about every aspect of the setup with this couple. Stress of raising kids. Grandparents you need to financially support. Grandparents who are absent. Stress of keeping a relevant job. Providing for a family of 4. Trying to keep the romance alive and looking toward life together after the kids are gone. The unfortunate realities of getting older and how a couple leans on each other through that emotional and physical change. I was extremely impressed, even when I wasn't laughing as much as I would in a Judd Apatow movie.
Then something happened. The movie got much funnier, yet the amount of things that piled onto this one couple turning 40 crossed the line into absurdity. The realism masked by comedy became a Keystone Kops routine. After all of these common 40-isms, Leslie Mann gets pregnant. In words, that may not seem like much, but while watching the movie, the viewer immediately thought, "ok, PLEASE...this is too much to happen to ONE couple." What bothered me most about it is that what is typical in Judd Apatow movies is that the protagonist usually shares experiences with a cast of others that he bounces things off of in order to move forward. It seems real that one would reach out to friends, family, etc when dealing with emotional and physical changes, so it seems like an easy fix would have been to have most of the things happen to the main couple, but when a baby was thrown into the mix, it seemed forcibly piled on. Why not have other 40-something couples/friends who would go through one of the major 40-isms? Share the wealth. It is a lot more natural to have many 40-somethings go through similar experiences and can discuss them, yet MAJOR things happen to one person here, one couple there. I know, as a 40-something, every single possible event that could impact the happy embrace of turning 40 doesn't happen to a SOLE couple or person. There are some things we share, but then there are some things my wife and I will discuss and say, "Wow...I can't believe that happened to them! OMG, we are SO lucky that hasn't happened to us." That seemed more realistic.
As a result, the structure got clumsier and clumsier over the latter half of the film until it just...ended. Like a story for which he couldn't determine an ending. Very un-Apatow like.
That being said, I enjoyed the film, the dialogue, most of the situations and the characters. The story was just severely damaged toward the end. It's worth seeing, but I'd discourage paying full price.