This is 40, billed as a ‘sort-of sequel’ to 2007 film Knocked Up, written and directed by Judd Apatow is enjoyable if not a bit forgettable and too long. The plot involves Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) and the weeks leading up to them turning 40. These two were last seen with small parts in Knocked Up, though you wouldn’t know it as, aside from the returning characters of Pete, Debbie and there kids, there are no references to the sort-of prequel.
Debbie and Pete are living the suburban lifestyle envied by many, Pete runs his own record label, and Debbie owns a boutique, but right from the off there’s tension in the air. Opening on Debbie’s 40th birthday we’re treated to a shower sex scene and then some brilliantly typical Apatow dialogue, with one particular quote working it’s way into this post’s title. Unfortunately nothing really comes too close to these opening exchanges in terms of humour. We’re treated to Pete’s inability to recognise that times are changing in the music business, and Debbie discovering that $12,000 has been stolen from her boutique by one of her employees. The ‘twist’, if you can call it that, with this particular thread is telegraphed far too much but still plays out fun, mostly down to the brilliant performance by House alum Charlyne Yi. There are some great scenes with the kids, played with aplomb by Judd Apatow’s daughter’s Maude and Iris Apatow. Whilst we’re on the family note, Apatow definitely must have saved himself some cash by casting seemingly everyone he knows on a personal level.
Debbie soon finds out she’s pregnant which brings the third act lurching round. I use the word lurching as by this point we’re over 90 minutes in and the film begins to sag under it’s own weight. Though it never gets boring, Judd Apatow could really have used a voice in his ear during editing telling him to cut some scenes out. There are quite a few unnecessary scenes which slow the pace down and this ultimately has a detrimental effect on the overall experience. Everything wraps up nicely enough as expected, and the ongoing conflicts between Debbie and Pete are ultimately resolved so all is well that end’s well I guess.
The cast are all competent enough with Paul Rudd turning in one of those performances he’s become brilliant at, he’s never going to be a serious drama actor but he’s found his comfort zone with these types of comedies and proves very capable of leading a film. Leslie Mann turns in a great performance here with her reaction to finding out she’s pregnant proving to be particularly funny, and a great scene involving her shouting down a 13 year old kid, but i’m not sure she really has the ability to carry a film. Of note are some of the supporting cast in this with Albert Brooks putting in a good turn as Pete’s mooching father. Jason Segel also reprises his role as a personal trainer, showing that whilst he can lead a film (The criminally underrated Forgetting Sarah Marshall), he is very much at home with these kind of small roles which he can have fun with.
This is 40 is ultimately not on the same consistent level as Knocked Up, but personally I would put this down to the overly long run time. If 20-30 minutes had been trimmed from this there would be a very good and memorable comedy, as it stands though we get a long, competent comedy with a lot of heart and some very good laughs that are unfortunately not as close together as they should be.