Susan Granger's review of 'This is 40'
Published 3:05 pm, Thursday, December 20, 2012
Reprising their supporting roles from "Knocked Up," Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann have morphed from Lifestyles of the Rich, Ribald and Rowdy into Lifestyles of the Selfish, Spoiled and Stressed. It's hard to believe that was really the intention of comedy writer/director Judd Apatow, who claims this is quasi-autobiographical.
In suburban Los Angeles, Pete (Rudd) and Debbie (Mann) are handling their respective 40th birthdays quite differently. Cupcake-loving Pete is cele-brating, while Debbie, an angst-riddled sneaky-smoker/health-food addict, is into denial. During a visit to her ob/gyn, it's obvious that she's lied about
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her age so often that the exact number becomes a matter of conjecture, even in her own mind.
Not that Pete has much to rejoice about. His record label is in financial ruin, despite heroic efforts to make `70s star Graham Parker relevant again. And, unbeknownst to Debbie, Pete has been secretly slipping funds to his spendthrift father, Larry (Albert Brooks), who has a young wife and identical triplet toddlers.
Meanwhile, manicured Debbie realizes that her trendy clothing boutique is losing money. Thousands of dollars have suddenly gone missing and suspicions fall on her employees: Desi (Megan Fox) and Jodi (Charlyne Yi). To add to her aggravation, Debbie is coping with a tense reconciliation with her estranged father, Oliver (John Lithgow), who has also remarried and started a second family.
Many of the intimate marital squabbles take place in the overwhelmed couple's bathroom, where Pete hides to play games on his iPad. To call their biting, bickering relationship dysfunctional is a gross understatement.
Trivia notes: Leslie Mann is Judd Apatow's real-life wife and their two children, Maude and Iris Apatow, appear as Pete and Debbie's overindulged offspring, Sadie and Charlotte. Jason Segel, Chris O'Dowd, Lena Dunham and Melissa McCarthy -- Apatow's usual suspects -- lend support.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "This is
40" is a foul-mouthed, forced 4, proving that maniacally blatant vulgarity does
not always come across as funny.