McCoy on Movies: This is 40 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tabari McCoy   
Sunday, 06 January 2013 15:48

McCoy on Movies: This is 40
Judd Apatow is back with his latest comedic opus that takes on what many people call "The new 30." But is "This is 40" as funny as people who really don’t act their age? Read on to find out!

"Admit it - you wish your holiday card looked like your family was genuinely having this much fun!" Charlotte (Iris Apatow), Sadie (Maude Apatow), Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Iris and Maude's real-life mother Leslie Mann) enjoy a happy moment in a scene from writer/director/Mann's husband Judd Apatow's latest adult comedy THIS IS 40Credit: Suzanne Hanover © 2012 Universal Pictures, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Rob Smigel, Jason Segel, Charlyne Yi, Chris O'Dowd, Graham Parker, Lena Durham and Megan Fox ... With a few other special surprises ...
WRITER(S): Judd Apatow
DIRECTOR: Judd Apatow
THE PLOT: The unofficial sequel to Knocked Up featuring the couple with precocious kids, This is 40 stars Paul Rudd as Pete and Leslie Mann as Debbie celebrating the latter's birthday with a bang – no pun intended. Celebrating their 40th birthdays within a week of each other, everything is moving forward with plans to celebrate the milestone ... For Pete. Debbie, you see, is having a hard time embracing the landmark – which is why her cake has a big "38" on it instead.

It's not like she doesn't have other things on her mind; she is the owner of a boutique in L.A. where she isn't sure which of her two employees – stunner Desi (Megan Fox) or the mild-mannered Jodi (Charlyne Yi) – may be responsible for $12,000 going missing. Then again, Pete's got his own problems as his fledging record label employees Ronnie (Chris O'Dowd) and Cat (Lean Durham) don't quite share his enthusiasm for the new record by his latest signee, Graham Parker (playing himself) – and unfortunately, neither does the press nor do all the fans he expected to buy it.

Those strains are also taking a toll at home – because the home the couple shares not only has the angst of  the teenage Sadie (Maude Apatow) and 8 year-old Charlotte (Iris Apatow), but the mortgage that threatens to make them have to move if things don't pick up. Throw in the stress of Pete always loaning his 60-something father (Albert Brooks) to help him afford the triplets he never expected - or wanted - to have and you've got all the makings of a situation just waiting to blow up in their faces ...

But such is life - and this is life at 40.

THE TAKE: Judd Apatow is the comedy equivalent to what James Cameron is to sci-fi/fantasy realm of filmmaking: Whatever he has his hand in pretty much will be the next big thing in terms of humor as it will be creative, more original than many competitors in his field and most importantly, entertaining. With This is 40, Apatow simply delivers what you expect: A funny, sometimes poignant, sometimes silly but always honest and heartfelt look at modern life in America at the age of the big 4.0.

Mann - who if you somehow didn't know is in fact married to Apatow and acts in the film with her two daughters - delivers a solid performance throughout the film as does Rudd, both delivering all the angst, pressure, delight, sadness and joy one turning 40 might experience today. Whether it be a money issue, an aging/accomplishment issue, a parent issue or a relationship issue, the duo explores them well together under Apatow's watchful eye in a way that will make you laugh yet at the same time contemplate their silliness seriously. Likewise, Apatow's young daughters show they have the talent to be in movies without their famous father's help as they bring their characters to life in a way that enhances not only the relationship between Rudd and Mann's character's, but also the movie as a whole. With This is 40 being such a personal affair, it only seems right his real life children could bring so much life to the roles they play ... And in this case, nepotism works very, very well.

Throw in some fine comedic acting by Brooks as Pete's father, Fox - the haters will hate how good she is in her role a hot chick with more to her than good looks - and Yi as Debbie's employees and the film is full of fine work. John Lithgow also puts in a nice turn as Debbie's estranged father, adding another dimension that counterbalances Pete and Debbie's relationship while at the same time helping to explain it. The film is not without it's flaws, of course, as it is rather lengthy (per Apatow's usual) and O'Dowd and Dunham could have been used a little better, but oh well. Much like life itself, This is 40 isn't perfect - but it does make the most of its screen time ... And isn't that a metaphor for life at that age itself? (Yeah ... I did that.)

PARTING SHOT: A fine addition to Apatow's collection of movies examining modern life as many these days experience it, This is 40 is a funny, heartfelt film that comedy fans of all ages - or at least 18 and up - will enjoy.

Tabari McCoy -

Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. You can check out more of his work on his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy


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Last Updated on Monday, 07 January 2013 12:01