Review : This Is 40 (2013)
"The Sort-of Sequel to 'Knocked Up'"
Released (UK) 14th February 2013, Rated 15. Runtime: 134 minutes (2 hours, 14 minutes).
Official Synopsis: A look at the lives of Pete and Debbie a few years after the events of Knocked Up.
Red Corner Review, by Lisa
Added April 15th, 2013
With my history of not liking the hyped ‘hilarious’ comedies, choosing this film on a bit of a whim could have proved somewhat disastrous for me. Being from the house of Judd Apatow and proudly waving the ‘ unofficial sequel to knocked up’ tagline made me scared. I didn’t like Knocked Up at all. Imagine my surprise that this film was, not only funny, but a little sad and heart warming in places but the best bits were not ruined my the trailer! I can’t remember when the last time that happened was.
Perhaps this will be remembered as the film where Judd Apatow grew up and stopped pining for deadbeats, geeks and slackers. But its ok there is still a Jewish family in there. I don’t know why they had to take the time and pains to point out that they were Jewish, but hey. They were.
My blue corner opponent has just informed me that the two girls, Sadie and Charlotte, are played by Apatow’s own daughters. This may be why it works so well as the young actresses, particularly the youngest of the girls,Iris Apatow, sparkles in this film. The comedic scenes around her are reminiscent of the funny and sometimes very honest things young kids do say. There was none of the over acting stage school showiness which seems to be preferred when featuring kids in films, particularly comedies.
The film tells the story of husband and wife Debbie and Pete. The film opens on Debbie’s 40th Birthday and an amorous shower encounter between husband and wife. She does not quite get the present she wanted however, when her husband admits to needing to/choosing to use the assistance of Viagra. We can see that Debbie, played by Leslie Mann, is not happy at turning 40 and indeed she lies about it for the rest of film. Hubbie Pete ( played by Blue corner favourite Paul Rudd) turns 40 about a week later and the film follows the course of family life over this time and Debbie and Pete face up to what turning the big 4-0 means to and for them and as they take stock of their lives.
I liked the clear differentiation between dad Pete’s taste in music, which is probably a bit similar to my own, and his incredulance at what passes for music these days. I must admit to being somewhat bewildered by Lady gaga and Nicki Minaj myself! The generational alienation is real! I particularly liked the references to technology and the way that it has changed being a teenager so much in just one generation from how things used to be . As a teen myself, I had access to the latest technology, dial up internet and a massive brick like mobile phone. This is perhaps why I found it so funny when the mum and dad were saying to their kids “go out and play outside” and “build a fort or play with twigs or something”. The look on the children’s faces said it all and as an audience member you realised that even though it was a normal suggestion and something you yourself done, today’s teens are very different creatures.
I liked that Apatow took his time to tell this story and the difficulties facing this married couple over just a short week. It felt real and it felt honest. I think this is why the later in life pregnancy slant and it worked in well with the story. Just when Debbie thinks she is getting a handle on her life it spins and they are facing starting all over again! This is particularly poignant as we see that both Debbie and Pete’s parents have started over and had children later in their lives and the affect this has had on them. From the beginning of the film we get an open access to this couple, their highs, their lows and their frequent fights in all their unflinching glory.
This film showed what it is like to turn 40 and take stock of your life. It is still a scary age! Even though everything we see or read now says that 40 is the new 30. It still Is a time to take stock and to make changes, which further worry is added to by the gloomy and unpredictable economic climate. There are health worries, financial worries, worrying about the future, facing up to the past and wanting to do the best job you can for your children and it’s all here in this story.
I thought the scenes with Debbie and her dad (John Lithgow) were really well done and really added something to the film . It was uncomfortable at times, but in a good way! As a matter of fact in a realistic way and Lithgow does a marvellous job of aloof, uptight and awkward very well indeed. The strong supporting cast, cameo’s , Apatow regulars and friends do what they were hired to do and support the cast without overshadowing or thunder stealing, perhaps with the exception of Melissa McCarthy who is really great as menopausal mom.
It is only fair to point out that Megan Fox really has got an amazing body, but when Debbie is jumping in the pool, we see that hers isn’t too bad either!! She looks great, but is plagued with the worries of getting older and worrying your husband doesn’t fancy you any more.So this film did surprise me and I found that I really enjoyed it. Best comedy with a bit of heart that I have seen for some time.