|SHADOWS ON THE WALL | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK|
|This Is 40|
dir-scr Judd Apatow
prd Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townsend
with Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Megan Fox, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Chris O'Dowd, Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy, Charlyne Yi, Lena Dunham
release US 21.Dec.12, UK 14.Feb.12
12/US Universal 2h14
Never grow up: Rudd and Mann
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Like five episodes of a sitcom, this overlong comedy cycles through a series of marital that continually leave the main characters exactly where they started. On the other hand, through hilarious observational humour the audience discovers a few things about lasting relationships.
Having just turned 40, Debbie (Mann) is lying about her age. At least until her husband Pete (Rudd) has his 40th birthday the following weekend. But as she plans his party, her emotions ricochet from intense love and lust to raging fury. Pete's only choice is to hang on for the ride while their daughters - teen Sadie (Maude Apatow) and 8-year-old Charlotte (Iris Apatow) - cause their own chaos. Meanwhile, Debbie and Pete both have issues with their fathers (Brooks and Lithgow) as well as economic problems in their businesses.
Of course, we've met this family before in another overlong Apatow comedy, 2006's Knocked Up, which Rudd and Mann very nearly stole from the leading players. So watching them in their own movie is good fun. Apatow writes sharply honest dialog that never shies away from anything rude, eliciting laughter through unexpected gags. So even if there's not actually a central plotline here, we are never bored. And it helps that Rudd and Mann are almost criminally engaging.
Apatow packs the film with a series of unnecessary side-stories (plus one major plot point), including the possibility that an oversexed employee (Fox) is embezzling from Debbie and Pete buckling under pressure from his failing record label and mooching dad. Each scene features lively characters expertly played by A-list scene-stealers, with McCarthy winning the prize as the furious mother of Sadie's classmate (this scene is extended in a hysterical closing-credits outtake).
All of this is skilfully written and played, and the film wisely turns out to be more centred on the resonant economical themes than the non-issue of turning 40. But it's all the small stuff that keeps us smiling with recognition: Pete's geeky musical taste, Debbie secretly smoking, parents trying to be intimate while kids are screaming, rude medical procedures and hormonal mayhem. Stir in scenes of gooey love and surprisingly nasty bitterness, and we don't really mind that we haven't gone anywhere when we get to the end.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
|Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.|
© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
HOME | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK