What's it About?
In a spin off of Apatow's previous success Knocked Up, we're five years on and back with Pete and Debbie as they both turn 40 and embark on their respective mid life crises. An ensemble cast of just about everyone in Hollywood and Chris O' Dowd are along for the rude, crude and painfully realistic ride.
There's a recurring theme in Judd's films that makes them feel more like extended, improvised chats between characters rather than scripted comedy. This can fall flat with audiences (Think Grown Ups) but luckily This is 40 manages to find the balance even without a plot to speak of.
Running long at just over 2 hours (as is Apatow's wont), there are times when rudderless one liners could have been trimmed but for all that there are some serious laugh out loud moments. The daughters (played by Mann & Apatow's real life spawn) have divided opinion in that the elder daughter, Sadie, is one of the most high pitched, annoying characters I've yet to encounter and her younger sibling one of the most enjoyable and natural on screen. I'm only hoping big sis is that good of an actress.
Piecing together the haphazard snapshots of life at 40 is made that much easier by a talented and varied supporting cast, though we never fully relate to, or dare I say it like any one of them, each serve their comedic purpose. Of course Megan Fox is on hand to be naked, groped and a bargaining chip for girls to get their boys to the cinema but again she adds very little to the story or the end result.
On the whole This is 40 is a patchwork of what I imagine Apatow's real life is like and that won't be to everyone's taste. It might be my grá for the likes of Rudd, Lithgow and my uncanny ability to ignore Chris O Dowd but I genuinely enjoyed this latest Judd offering.
By the by, wait to watch the end credits, I had an actual pain in the centre of my face laughing at Melissa McCarthy (as did the others when the camera pans out).
GIVEAWAY: To celebrate the opening of This is 40 on February 14th, Universal Ireland have very kindly offered 5 soundtracks for you lovely folks. This is open to Ireland only, soz, but should you want to get your mitts on one, simply send your name, address and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll pick 5 random winners on Feb 14th. Good Luck!