We had the opportunity to have a “date night” that included chicken wings and the new Judd Apatow movie This is 40, a semi-sequal to Knocked Up. Apatow knows how to do funny comedies about relationships (Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of my absolute favorites, though 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up are both pretty good too), so I had high expectations for this movie. We weren’t disappointed, it was pretty good and admittedly my wife and I are the target demographic for the film. I’ll do my best to avoid any significant spoilers (there aren’t too many).
Basically the main couple, played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, are turning 40 and dealing with how their life is shaping up with two daughters (13 and 8 if I remember correctly). They struggle to keep the spark going, and have their ups and downs and misunderstandings starting with the first scene of the movie (sex in the shower that starts hot and then c0ols quickly). There’s some seriously funny scenes involving trying to be intimate when the kids are totally cock-blocking.
Both Rudd and Mann’s characters are somewhat messed up from their own issues with their parents (like my It All Comes Back to Your Youth post) that they get into, and I thought Apatow really captured how issues from past generations can live like ghosts and impact successive generations and their parenting skills. Rudd and Mann think they’re doing a good job parenting, but if they are (I’d say inconclusive though there are some examples of bad parenting in the movie) it’s entirely by accident. The kids in the film are pretty good and capture young teenage girl issues along with being siblings pretty accurately and we could totally identify the rivalry and bickering that happened throughout the movie.
Some of the issues I had were that Rudd and Mann (moreso Rudd) are somewhat detestable and annoying, though they do have some endearing parts. Rudd is the anti-captain and avoids real intimacy and honesty and leadership, which is very overt in the movie. Men can take a lesson on how to not be a man-boy (Man or Muppet post) and how not to act as “leader” of the family by doing the opposite of Rudd. Other issues were many scattershot plot aspects that didn’t add to the story and were a little bit like WTF (if you’ve seen it, the on-going “issue” at Mann’s shop and the characters in that plot line… entertaining in spots, annoying in others).
Overall, if you don’t mind potty humor, a lot of swearing, and some darker humor at times (principal’s office scene with Melissa McCarthy [from Mike and Molly and Bridesmaids] while funny was pretty dark) I think you’ll like the realistic world that Apatow has created for a 40-ish married family and their issues which are similar to ones we’re all going through. Some seriously funny scenes are worth it if you can stomach through some of the un-evenness, shenanigans and annoyance at the main characters. We laughed a lot and this movie will be one we’ll see again when it comes to video.
Hope you all have a safe and happy New Years celebration!