This is 40 is a huge misstep for Apatow and company. The characters are nasty and highly unlikeable, the script itself just isn’t very funny lending itself to maybe a chuckle or two and where Apatow’s previous endeavors had a certain heart behind the sex jokes is lost here. Also not helping matters is the fact the story drifts aimlessly with multiple subplots that often don’t even have a resolution.
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
Universal | R/Unrated – 134/137 min. – $34.98 | March 22, 2013
Directed by: Judd Apatow
Writer(s): Judd Apatow (characters), Judd Apatow (written by)
Cast: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Josh Lithgow, Megan Fox, Albert Brooks, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Jason Segel, Lena Dunham
Theatrical Release Date: December 21, 2012
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted/Alternate Scenes, Gag Reel, Line-O-Rama, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 46.1 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 1.75/5
I’ve said it before in other reviews but there’s nothing more annoying to me than precocious children in movies… that is, until I saw Judd Apatow’s latest comedy, This is 40 and found that adolescent adulthood is in a tight race for obnoxiousness and annoyance.
This “sort-of sequel” to Knocked Up follows married couple Pete (PAUL RUDD) and Debbie (LESLIE MANN) who are each turning 40 within a week of one another and are experiencing marriage troubles. Pete owns a small record label with friends Ronnie (CHRIS D’DOWD) and Cat (LENA DUNHAM) while Debbie owns a boutique shop with Desi (MEGAN FOX) and Jodi (CHARLYNE YI) in her employ. The problem is both places are not doing well with the label doing poor business and the boutique shop missing $12,000.
The home life isn’t much better. Their one daughter, Sadie (MAUDE APATOW) is 13 and going through that traumatic time in a teens life, plus she’s obsessed with the show “Lost”, and Charlotte (IRIS APATOW) who doesn’t really get along with her big sister (and vice versa).
So, in an attempt to improve life, Debbie takes the advice of trainer/friend Jason (JASON SEGEL reprising his role from KU) to have her family exercise more, eat healthier, spend more quality time together – which means limiting computer time – and reconnecting with hers and Pete’s parents. The latter is a sore point, and a cause of the family’s financial woes as Pete had lent his father Larry (ALBERT BROOKS) $80,000 as his curtain business has not been going well and now has triplets to raise (via in vitro fertilization).
You then got the family problems the couple deals with, specifically eldest daughter Sadie. Pete and Debbie decide to spy on their well behaved and apparently scholarly-sound daughter, by looking at her chat communications with a boy at her school who had the audacity to be immature and place Sadie on his “Not Hot” list. How does Debbie react to this? Well, of course, to be an adult and talk to her daughter… OR, when she encounters the boy at the school (by chance), confronts and scolds with using spiteful and vulgar language and although she apologizes, the damage is done. Pete is no better when the boy’s mother, rightfully angry about what his wife had done, tells Pete and what does Pete do? He acts like an adult and apologizes… OR acts like an imbecile and shows that he’s no better and even threatens the son AND the mother.
As you can tell, one of the problems facing This is 40 is the number of characters, new and old, that writer/director Judd Apatow has introduced to this world, not to mention, though especially, the number of subplots created. Of course, this is Apatow’s forte even with his good movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, each were easily 30-40 minutes too long but it’s incredibly noticeable when that movie is terrible (Funny People). It does beg the question, why Apatow feels his movies need to cross the 130-minute mark.
The casting at least isn’t bad. Despite my problems with the characters, I can’t really blame either Paul Rudd or Leslie Mann, although one would assume both have some voice, Mann especially, to make changes to the script. But even so, they both give it their all and on occasion can be funny… when they’re not being nasty to one another. Adding to Mann, the rest of the Apatow clan gets in on the “fun” with his kids, Maude and Iris, reprise their respective roles albeit they’re more or less playing themselves. The two brighter spots on the project are Jason Segel returning as “Jason” and Megan Fox, plastic surgery and all, at least bring some laughs to an otherwise excruciatingly unfunny movie.
And a special note about Albert Brooks whose character is, in a word, villainous at just how he takes advantage of his son. The issue here is this guy, knowing Pete has his own family to take care of, continues to expect monitary support for his actions of having a floundering business and raising triplets at the age of 60+. But there’s no real judgement made, save for an argument near the end, and instead he’s just supposed to be this loveable guy we as an audience are supposed to like. Not the case and it’s yet another pox amongst other characters that were at best, detestable.
I guess on the positive front, TI40 was nicely photographed with rich textures. The DP on the film was Phedon Papamichael who had previously worked on Sideways, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma, The Ides of Marsh and The Descendents. Given how good those movies looked, it’s a shame it was wasted on this drivel.
In the end, This is 40 is a bad misstep for Judd Apatow following the oft lauded and sometimes described depressing Funny People. After producing and directing some wonderful comedies, with drama undertones, such as 40-Year-Old Virgin, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up and even Bridesmaids (which I found to be vastly overrated), Apatow’s projects have at least had a heart behind the sex and fart jokes, but here the heart has been replaced with coal.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5
As with other Universal releases, this one comes with a glossy, title-embossed slip cover. Inside is a standard retail DVD Copy and a Digital Copy through either iTunes or UltraViolet.
Theatrical and Unrated Versions – There are two cuts available: the 134 theatrical and 137 unrated versions. Since the one is only 3-minutes longer, I can’t imagine it would make the movie any better (for the record, my review is based on the theatrical cut). The unrated version is a ** Blu-ray Exclusive **.
Feature Commentary – Judd Apatow surprisingly goes it alone for this track providing some BTS information on the project, characters and the like. He decided to do this solo because he felt the group commentaries can get jammed and the listener might not get as much out of it. As it is, it’s not a bad track and Apatow is lively enough to keep my interest.
The Making of This is 40 (50:05; SD) – This is a 2-part documentary/featurette showing the behind-the-scenes of how the movie was made featuring interviews with the cast (Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Megan Fox and others) and crew (Judd Apatow, etc.). Given this is a drama-comedy it is impressive to have such an extensive featurette especially since most nominal films don’t get this treatment. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
This is Albert Brooks (At Work) (10:58; SD) focuses on the addition of Brooks whom Judd Apatow had written the role for. It features some more sound bites from Apatow, Brooks and others in the production. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Graham Parker & The Rumour: Long Emotional Ride (17:30; HD) is about Parker and his career throughout the 70s, 80s and beyond and features interviews with the band. It’s nothing uber-fascinating but gives insight and provides those who don’t know them very well. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Under the Music submenu, you can check out videos for Graham Parker & The Rumour (20:35; HD) (5), Graham Parker (5:59; HD) solo (2) and Ryan Adams (9:52; HD) (3). Most of these are ** Blu-ray Exclusives **.
Deleted Scenes (35:36; HD) and Extended & Alternate Scenes (18:24; HD) – Here we get a plethora (12 all together) of scenes that were shortened or cut out from the final film. Since the theatrical cut was already over two hours, I can imagine it had something to do with pacing… Part of these are ** Blu-ray Exclusives **
Gag Reels (8:26; SD) – There’s so much tomfoolery that the reel actually got split up into two parts! The second part is a ** Blu-ray Exclusive **.
Line-O-Rama (8:27; HD) – A staple on any Apatow Blu-ray, we get many different lines in scenes. Like the gag reel, they’ve split it into two parts with one of them being a ** Blu-ray Exclusive **.
Brooks-O-Rama (2:46; HD) is similar to the previous feature, this one where Albert Brooks goes rolls through different lines. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Biking with Barry (2:43; HD) – More of the same except this time with actor Robert Smigel, on a bike, going through alternate lines. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Triumph the Insult Dog (8:36; HD) gets candid with the cast of TI40. It’s extremely funny, especially if you love the character. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Kids on the Loose 3 (11:41; SD) is just some outtakes from the Apatow kid stars. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Bodies by Jason Commercial (1:27; HD) – This features Jason Segel in character doing a commercial for his workout company. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Fresh Air with Terry Gross (44:00) is an audio segment where Gross interviews Apatow. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
My Scenes ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Universal releases This is 40 presented in its original 2.40 theatrical aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). This is a rich looking picture with excellent detail levels throughout and a fair amount of natural film grain and noise. The color array is on the darker side, mostly matches Apatow’s other movies, but it still looks great even on the small screen.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t anything to boast about but it is at least effective. The dialogue levels sound clear and whenever there is music, which there’s a fair amount, it does make some use of the surrounds. Again, this is not a lossless track that will astound you but will provide for at least a satisfactory home viewing experience.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, This is 40 is a huge misstep for Apatow and company. The characters are nasty and highly unlikeable, the script itself just isn’t very funny lending itself to maybe a chuckle or two and where Apatow’s previous endeavors had a certain heart behind the sex jokes is lost here. Also not helping matters is the fact the story drifts aimlessly with multiple subplots that often don’t even have a resolution. The Blu-ray at least has a nice video transfer, a solid lossless audio track and an excellent amount of features including a 50-minute ‘making-of’ featurette.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.