This Is 40

Out Now On-Demand

Comedy writer-director-producer Judd Apatow's "sort-of sequel" to Knocked Up, with Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann battling the complexities of marriage, parenthood and middle age. Co-stars Melissa McCarthy, John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Jason Segel, Lena Dunham and Chris O'Dowd.

Knocked Up introduced Pete (Rudd) and Debbie (Mann) as the jaded faces of parenthood. Years later the couple are approaching 40 and life continues to throw up complications - Debbie's in denial about her age, Pete's music business is failing, and their two daughters grow increasingly annoying. As the pair bicker their way through the problems, cracks in their relationship begin to show. 

Pete and Debbie's two daughters are played by Apatow and Mann's real-life kids, Maude and Iris.

When a director makes a film starring his missus and children that’s about a difficult period in an already tempestuous relationship, one can’t help but read a massive autobiographical element into it. As with Funny People Judd Apatow seems to be telling a deeply personal story here, but where that prior film pulled back the curtains on the world of comedy and fame, This Is 40 sees Apatow mistaking his personal life as the perfect fodder for another dramedy that stretches beyond a comfortable running time.

While they didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the film This Is 40's dramatic elements are bound to prove its most divisive quality, with Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s self-centred bickering making it difficult to root for them as individuals or become invested in their future as a couple. Presumably Apatow’s trying to convey either some unique insights or universal truths about relationships here, but he mostly depicts a couple of well-to-do selfish assholes grumbling about their pretty good lives.

Much of the film’s humour stems from Rudd and Mann’s hurling of insults at one another, so seeing beyond Apatow’s self-indulgence in recreating marital feuding is critical to enjoying This Is 40’s comedic aspects. Luckily the leads share strong chemistry and an enthusiasm for the material, with Rudd demonstrating his usual outstanding comic timing and relish for improvisation and Mann showing off similar skills. The strong supporting cast also excel and the film delivers plenty of laugh out loud moments – if you can get past its uninspiring depiction of domestic strife.

Empire (Australia)

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If two-and-a-half hours of people shouting at each other for no reason is your idea of comedy, then this film will appeal. But everyone else should avoid.

Guardian (UK)

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This is laboured. This is aimless.

Hollywood Reporter

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Even with all its ups and downs, there are more than enough bawdy laughs and truthful emotional moments to put this over...

Los Angeles Times

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The film has as much to say about family dynamics as a couple's wavering love.

New York Times

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There are a lot of loose ends and a few forced conclusions. But, then again, the acceptance of imperfection is Mr. Apatow's theme...

Total Film (UK)

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A pleasantly sprawling, perceptive study of mid-life angst that never lacks for laughs.

Variety (USA)

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An acutely perceptive, emotionally generous laffer about the joys and frustrations of marriage and middle age.

Little White Lies (UK)

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A real step up for Apatow. His masterpiece? Quite possibly.

Seen Them All

Honestly the best laugh I've had in ages, if you don't mind swearing and you are not a sad lonely basketcase, you can't help but love this movie. It also helps if you have kids and you are over 35 years, as there is a lot of real life humour in this movie. I highly recommend it if you meet the above criteria. Very, very funny!


Truthful insights or cringey?

Some might say all the arguing between these two is refreshingly truthful, I thought it was cringey and drawn out. Why is this couple still together?!?


Yawn...

It felt like this movie had all the bloopers and out takes and deleted scenes still in it. There seemed to be so much that could have been cut out to condense the film into a decent comedy.