This is 40 is the ‘sort of sequel’ to Knocked Up. The two main characters from that film have disappeared and instead the focus is on Debbie (Leslie Mann) and Pete (Paul Rudd), the quarreling married couple who were the best thing about Knocked Up and are now both about to celebrate their fortieth birthday and are struggling to accept the path their lives have taken.
They seem unable to have a conversation with each other without it turning into an argument, their two daughters are not getting on and are constantly giving them grief, their Fathers are a nightmare, and they are struggling to make ends meet financially. The film does not exaggerate problems that can occur at middle age but plays on the humor of real and easy to understand issues that are common concerns for many people.
The film has received criticism for its long running time and apparent lack of editing, but it did not feel overlong. The natural likeability of the central characters kept me interested and there were enough laughs overall to make the length seem worthwhile. Even during the less funny parts of the film, when the characters were feeling low, their seriousness and upset felt very genuine and was strikingly touching in places. There is a particularly moving scene where Pete is sat in his car clearly on the verge of tears and it tugs at the heart strings.
John Lithgow and Albert Brooks gave impressive supporting performances playing the Dads of the central couple. They are equally flawed parents, but both still likeable because they obviously want the best for their children, but are just not particularly good at showing it. Even Megan Fox, normally a bit pouty for my liking was used well in the film. She didn’t have much comedy to do herself, but a lot of funny jokes were created around her, as the middle aged men struggle to stop from pathetically staring whenever she is around.
This is 40 is not one of the best films i’ve ever seen, but it is an extremely funny film about the middle age dilemma. The central relationship always feels genuine and you completely believe the love hate dynamics going on between them. Even though the characters admittedly do seem to live a lavish well-off lifestyle, they still come across as very real and down to earth and I was bidding for the predictable happy(ish) ending.
Dir: Judd Apatow
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Megan Fox, John Lithgow
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