Thursday, June 6, 2013

This Is 40

I remember a time when Judd Apatow’s movies used to be funny. I loved The 40 Year Old Virgin and found Knocked Up to be pretty funny, if not a little too long. I avoided Funny People because I am not an Adam Sandler fan, but heard from friends that did see it that it was more a drama than a comedy. The movies he writes and/or produces have been slowly slipping downhill in terms of quality as well (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Year One and Bridesmaids). So now we have his newest directorial endeavor, This is 40, which is a spin-off featuring minor characters from Knocked Up.

Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are hitting middle age and have to deal with all the problems that come with it, from their respective careers to their relationship issues.
This movie is shit. Pure whiny, emo shit featuring a cast of characters that are so fucking selfish and immature that I had a hard time understanding why Apatow felt that they would be a great focal point for a flick. I hated each and every one of them, including their asshole kids, effed up parents and their douchey friends. How in the world can you make a movie that follows around completely unlikable people for 2 ½ hours and expect an audience to connect with them? Apatow was completely deluded in that regard, and in the end this sad excuse for a movie boils down to it being a starring vehicle for his wife, Leslie Mann, who is better suited to secondary characters in ensemble casts.

The characters of Pete and Debbie have not changed at all since their appearance in Knocked Up, and as far as I’m concerned have actually gotten worse when it comes to their attitudes and maturity levels. Pete just wants to run his overly unsuccessful record company and is unwilling to part with it regardless that it’s dragging his family into bankruptcy. He is easily guilted into forking money he doesn’t have over to his deadbeat moocher Dad (Albert Brooks) who, like all the other self-centered asshats in this flick, decided to have test tube triplets when he couldn’t afford to father even one. Pete even has intimacy issues and would rather sit on the toilet playing Words with Friends on his iPad than spend time with his family. He also wants to just go out and have fun with his friends despite having responsibilities at home.
Debbie is a whiny bitch and everything has to revolve around her. She’s made out to be a complete shrew and no matter if any other character is on the right side of an argument, she’s always the one who is right even if she is completely wrong. She never wants sex when her husband wants it, and we see that wear him down until he isn’t even interested anymore, and then when she does want it and is similarly turned down has a temper tantrum that would make some 3 year olds blush. She is judgmental and only cares about what and who is hot, which is why she automatically assumes that her employee, played by Megan Fox, is innocent of embezzling money from her store just because she’s sexy and brings in the most business. And like her husband, she also lies with nearly every breath she takes.

And the icing on the cake is that all these problems, be it emotional, psychological or physical, are blamed on their parents. Take some fucking responsibility for your own shitty issues and don’t hand them off to someone who is never there (according to this movie they have very little contact with their folks). I just wanted to reach through the television and choke out these two dickheads. Seriously Apatow, WTF?!
The performances of the leads are very broad, and they seem to be trying way too hard. Paul Rudd, who is either very good (I Love You, Man) or incredibad (Our Idiot Brother) and never in-between, is definitely the better of the two. He never resorts to huge theatrics to sell his character, but he can’t seem to find any way to make his character relatable or even likable. The same goes for Leslie Mann, who goes completely off the deep end, obviously trying to bring some sort of liveliness to the dull script, but she just comes off as an insane overachiever. When I say that Megan Fox runs circles around her in the acting department you know that something has gone horribly wrong.

All of the co-stars are the same. Not even the supremely funny Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd) comes off as a decent guy as Pete’s co-worker. Surprisingly Robert Smigel (of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog fame) gets a few moments of something resembling humanity, but they are fleeting since he’s in less than ten minutes of the film. Jason Segel, who normally is hilarious with little effort, is written as a pretentious douche hammer and I wanted his character to die a horrible flaming death by gas station explosion whenever he would rear his ugly head. Apatow seems to have lost his ability to write anyone as a decent human being, or he’s just transferred his own assholish tendencies over to his characters.
I find it hard to believe that this is an accurate representation of married life at 40. I’m nearly that age and I have never and most likely will never cross the line into completely adolescent behavior while tossing the blame for my actions around to people I hardly know. That would be like me saying that it’s my Cousin Christina’s fault that I don’t like tomato sauce on my pasta (she lives in Italy and I’ve met her once). If this is what life in Apatow’s house is like I have a few words for him – “Grow the fuck up and get some long overdue counseling”. If that’s not the case he has a particularly fucked up world view and I reiterate the counseling bit.

In closing, this movie is unfunny, tedious, infuriating and a waste of time. I’ve had more amusing visits to the orthodontist, and I hated my orthodontist. Avoid this flick like the plague.

1 out of 5

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