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Movie Review: This is 40

December 21, 2012

This is 40 PosterThis is 40 – A Universal Studios Release

Release Date: December 21st, 2012

Rated 14A for coarse language and sexual content

Running time: 134 minutes

Judd Apatow (dir.)

Judd Apatow (writer)

Jon Brion (music)

Paul Rudd as Pete

Leslie Mann as Debbie

Maude Apatow as Sadie

Iris Apatow as Charlotte

Albert Brooks as Larry

John Lithgow as Oliver

Jason Segel as Jason

Megan Fox as Desi

Charlyne Yi as Jodi

Chris O’Dowd as Ronnie

Lena Dunham as Cat

Annie Mumolo as Barb

Robert Smigel as Barry

Melissa McCarthy as Catherine

Ryan Lee as Joseph

This is 40

©Universal Studios.  All Rights Reserved.

Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) in This is 40.

Our reviews below:


This is 40 Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

Five years after we first met Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Man) in the pregnancy comedy Knocked Up, director Judd Apatow revisits these deeply personal characters in This is 40.  With a sharply written screenplay and an excellent supporting cast, this a comedy centred around middle age that provides plenty of laughs alongside a few more serious moments.

Pete and Debbie have been married for fourteen years, but they are both set to turn forty within a week of each other and find themselves hitting several pitfalls along the way as they both deal with reaching the big milestone.  Debbie runs a clothing store with the help of a hot younger employee, Desi (Megan Fox), but twelve thousand dollars has mysteriously gone missing.  Pete is trying to make financial ends meet with his record company alongside employees Ronnie (Chris O’Dowd) and Cat (Lena Dunham), but his attempts to give Graham Parker (playing himself) a comeback aren’t paying off.

Their family life has also gotten just as stressful.  Their 13-year-old daughter Sadie (Maude Apatow) is going through her own set of changes as she transitions to being a teenager, and their younger daughter Charlotte (Iris Apatow) just wants her entire family to stop fighting and start getting along.  Pete’s father (Albert Brooks) keeps asking to borrow money to support his own young kids, while Debbie is trying to reconcile with her own father (John Lithgow) who was absent throughout much of her childhood.  There is also a high strung parent (Melissa McCarthy) to contend with at school, as her son Joseph (Ryan Lee) keeps trying to get the attention of Sadie.

Even for those of us who are still a ways off from reaching the title milestone, what I like about This is 40 is the way that it presents the problems the characters face in a very relatable and believable way.  The film doesn’t shy away from showing us the brutally honest moments that threaten to tear the central family apart, without sacrificing any of the laughs that are born out of their interactions.  The supporting characters also provide their fair share of hilarious moments, and Jason Segel is just perfect in his few scenes as Debbie’s overly physical personal trainer.  Because Leslie Mann is married to Judd Apatow and Maude and Iris are their real life children, the family dynamic always feels very natural.

There are a few loose ends in the story and the film runs a touch long at 134 minutes, with a couple of unresolved plot points.  But I enjoy Judd Apatow’s blend of long dialogue-driven scenes, which are incredibly entertaining to watch play out as they are delivered by a uniformly excellent cast.  There is a very free style to his writing that allows the conversations between characters to go on for several minutes at a time, perfectly capturing the feeling of real life in all of its unscripted glory.  Just like in Knocked Up, there is also a real heart beneath the laughs.

Right through to the arguments that Pete and Debbie have about what types of music they each listen to, there are so many little moments in the film that feel undeniably real.  Carried effortlessly by the excellent cast and sharply written screenplay, This is 40 is well worth seeing, and not just for those who are the titular age.


This is 40 Review by Erin V.  

*** (out of 4)

Based on two secondary characters we first met in the 2007 hit Knocked Up, This is 40 is the newest Judd Apatow film, starring Leslie Mann as Debbie, and Paul Rudd as Pete – a couple who both find themselves turning 40 and dealing with the adjustments that come with it.  Their two children are fighting, as Sadie at 13 (played by Maude Apatow) is transitioning into being a teenager and increasingly annoyed by her 8-year-old sister Charlotte (Iris Apatow).

The cast are all really good here, and the family dynamics feel natural between them – this is likely strongly in part due to the fact that the two main kids (both very good here) are Leslie Mann and director Judd Apatow’s real life children.  No matter which characters are sharing the screen, the dialogue and performances are strong by those of all ages.

While like many of Apatow’s other films This is 40 feels a little long at 2 hours, 14 minutes, it is still primarily entertaining throughout.  I actually liked it quite a bit better than Knocked Up, and in some ways it may be enjoyed by the middle-age market a little bit more.  Still, leave the kids at home for this one.  It is a strong 14A.


This is 40 Review by Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Five years after Knocked Up, Judd Apatow has brought back two side characters, Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann, Judd Apatow’s wife).  They are now both turning 40, and middle age is starting to creep up on this couple.  Medical checkups mean more invasive tests, and blue pills are sometimes required for marital intimacy to work.

The girls, 13-year-old Sadie (Maude Apatow, Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann’s daughter) and 8-year-old Charlotte (Iris Apatow, Maude’s real sister), are getting older now.  Not only do they argue, but they are also constantly glued to their electronics.  Think Nature Deficit Disorder.  The family has been quite well off financially, but this may also change.

Debbie’s clothing store is in danger from mysteriously disappearing cash.  Pete’s record business is in trouble as no one remember its star artists, Graham Parker and the Rumour.  On top of that, Pete’s dad (Albert Brooks) keeps borrowing money to help care for Pete’s identical triplet brothers, who are even younger than Charlotte.  Meanwhile, Debbie is trying to get to know her biological dad (John Lithgow) better.

This is 40 is a funny and believable movie about family dynamics.  What makes it so believable is the perfect casting.  Paul Rudd is really good, as is the entire cast, but having real life mom Leslie Mann and her real daughters Maude and Iris Apatow on set makes the film extra believable.  The interactions between these three are especially fun to watch.

While This is 40 is about a family, it is not a family friendly movie.  There is content in this film to warrant its 14A rating, including a very innovative use of a British expletive.  That being said, this is a charming film with a lot of heart.  While middle age parents and their teenagers will especially relate to this film, This is 40 has enough going for it that anyone over a certain age can enjoy.


This is 40 Review by Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Married couple Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are both celebrating December birthdays.  This is the big one – 40.  Deb is kind of in denial, but hubby Pete and daughters Sadie (Maude Apatow) and Charlotte (Iris Apatow) know enough to put a 38 candle on the cake.  Pete is content to admit he’s not getting any younger.

Pete and Deb are a fairly typical 40-ish couple.  They both work.  Pete owns an independent record label and Deb owns a small clothing store.  Both are feeling the economic downturn and money is tighter than it used to be.  Their sex life is OK, though Pete admits to getting some help from a little blue pill.  The kids are 13 and 8 and still need lots of parenting.  Realizing they want to be around to see the kids grow up, Pete and Deb are starting to pay more attention to their health.  There are some really funny scenes about prostate exams and ob/gyn appointments.

This is a family that obviously has a lot of love for one another, but have the inevitable squabbles and loud exchanges complete with strong language that most of us would recognize but not be proud of.  Adding to the mix of family pressures are Pete’s Dad (Albert Brooks), who is constantly borrowing money from him to support his second family of triplet pre-school boys and Deb’s Dad (John Lithgow), who has money but has a strained relationship with Deb and her family.

This is 40 has a lot of funny moments, many of them raunchy, as well as a lot of heart.  The interactions between the characters are believable and we don’t mind dropping in on their lives for over two hours and fourteen minutes.  The movie does meander at times and there are several side characters such as Deb’s personal trainer Jason (Jason Segel), Pete’s co-worker Ronnie (Chris O’Dowd), Deb’s store employee Desi (Megan Fox), and another school Mom (Melissa McCarthy) who all add to the comedic tone, but contribute to the inflated running time.

But overall, it’s the excellent cast that makes This is 40 so much fun to watch.  Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are a delight together.  Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann should be proud of their two daughters, Maude and Iris for their really nice performances.  The supporting cast are also all fun to watch.

No matter which side of 40 you’re on, This is 40 has a lot to offer, especially for fans of Judd Apatow’s brand of raunchy but heartfelt humour.


This is 40 Review by Tony

*** (out of 4)

The latest Judd Apatow film, This is 40 features Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, 43 & 40 years old respectively) the couple we first met in his Knocked Up, and (Apatow/Mann kids) Maude and Iris Apatow as their children Sadie and Charlotte. Their 40th birthdays bring various mid-life crises to a head, and Sadie has typical adolescent issues while Charlotte is still a little girl.

Pete’s record company is struggling with artists such as Graham Parker long past their best days, while Debbie’s boutique is being ripped off by staff. Though Pete could lose both his business and house, he continues to support his father (Albert Brooks) with a younger wife and triplet boys. Debbie hardly knows her own father (John Lithgow), a back surgeon with a young family of his own. In spite of everything, the marriage is still solid in the end.

Apatow fans will not be disappointed by This is 40, which has all the strengths and weaknesses of his other work. In other words, it is very funny, crude, sweet and at 134 minutes a bit too long. Supporting excellent performances by the leads, the large cast also includes Jason Segel, Megan Fox, Charlyne Yi, Chris O’Dowd and Melissa McCarthy.


Consensus: Directed by Judd Apatow, This is 40 is a sharply written adult comedy about middle age and family dynamics that is carried effortlessly by an excellent cast, fronted by believable performances from Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann.  *** (Out of 4)

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