This Is 40

This is 40

How to be a “Feel Good Movie”, “This Is 40” style:

Create two miserable characters, unhappily married to each other. Show in great detail all the miserable facets of their unhappy relationship… the lack of personal space, the unfulfilled wishes, the financial pressures, the ridiculous demands they place on each other, and then show them argue about these things. At length. Constantly. Then show how miserable that this is making the couple’s children. Then show the irresponsible parents that caused these two to grow up miserably, and how they’re still making the couple miserable. Finally, your audience will be miserable after watching two hours of nonstop arguing and misery and complaining about being miserable.

Then, when the credits roll… it will feel SO good.

Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann who play an unhappily married couple. When I say unhappy, I mean “what’s keeping these two from killing each other?” unhappy. In fact, at one point, they openly discuss that they fantasize about killing each other, and I’ll freely admit that I was fantasizing about one of them killing the other, too.

All they do is bitch.

No, that’s not fair, occasionally they bury their contempt for each other behind a thin veneer of pretension and cordiality. But the film never lets those phases last long.

Individually, they’re not that likeable either. They’re the two worst business people in the world. He’s started a record label in order to sign, apparently, only one has-been, senior citizen client, yet he acts surprised that he’s not making any money. In his free time, he’s one of those bicyclists who thinks he owns the road. She runs some sort of small scale, hipster clothing store, yet is unaware that someone has embezzled a large sum of money from her. He hides the financial trouble they’re in while feeding handouts to his deadbeat father (Albert Brooks) who’s raising three young children he’s just had with a new wife.

In between their fighting we get to watch them bemoaning getting old. In one of the funniest scenes this film has to offer, we get to watch them both undergo age appropriate medical exams; colonoscopies, a gynecological exam, breast exam, etc. Later, we get to watch Rudd’s character ask his wife to check his ass. No, seriously, no exaggeration, butt naked, legs raised, he’s examining his anus with a handheld mirror being the only thing obstructing our view. So, thank them at least for that much.

You know, I just figured if I were going to complain about the bad stuff, I should share the funniest parts too.

So, somewhere along the line, its supposed to be funny watching these two fight. But it’s not. And I can’t figure out how it’s supposed to be… They’re not setting up pratfalls, or punchlines, or payoffs, they literally just throw hate at each other. Ha ha ha, look how funny it is that they’re making each other this unhappy? With the exception of one brief period of respite (the hotel room scene the trailer features), they just talk about how miserable they’re making each other, and somehow we’re supposed to laugh at it.

Melissa McCarthy’s one scene is funnier than the rest of the movie combined.

Self indulgent at a 2hr 15 minute runtime, and with little character development along the way (seriously, they fight bitterly right up until the last 2 minutes, and I honestly don’t trust these two not to resume fighting if the movie would have run longer), I don’t understand this movie just as much as I don’t like it.

This is NOT 40, %#&$ you, Judd Apatow.

This is not the worst movie of the year, in fact, I doubt it will even make my ten worst… I have to admit that its professionally put together and competently acted, etc etc, which many of the films on that list are not. But if the list were more personal? If it were just the movies I hated most? This is the hands down winner. I am bitterly resentful that I was made to sit through that.


Daniel Fogarty

48 thoughts on “This Is 40

  1. Professionally put together and well-acted sometimes just means you have a professionally polished turd. As competent as it may be on a technical level, it’s still a turd. Thanks for for the warning on this one, Fogs.

      • Yeah, I get you on that. There’s still a pretty big difference between something that you hate because it’s poorly done, and something you hate because it’s just diametrically opposed to what you would like… or something you hate because of both.

  2. I think I might’ve gone with a C- or D+ with this one, but that’s only because of how much I enjoyed a few key scenes that anything else. Like I said in my review, this is one of the least enjoyable movies I’ve seen this year, I really hope Apatow can bounce back from this and “Funny People”

    • Funny. LOL. I was commenting on yours I think when you left this. I agree 100% when you said “*This Is 40 rapidly shifts between endearingly earnest and incredibly unlikable to produce one of the most profoundly unpleasant viewing experiences I’ve had all year.” I would actually add that it doesnt exactly pay the two modes equal time, either. 😦 They spend WAY more time on the “Incredibly unlikeable” than they do on the “Endearingly Earnest” :(*

  3. Pingback: This Is 40 Review: (Un)Funny People | Rorschach Reviews

    • No, man. You weren’t wrong.

      I mean, I thought the trailers looked terrible too, but what I didnt expect is that I’d be longing for all the sacharine feel goodery that they were advertising because they’d be hammering me over the head with the “Life sucks when youre married and middle aged” hammer. God… I found it insufferable, I really did.

  4. Holy shit, Fogs! I mean I’ve heard of anger towards this flick, but absolute hatred! I don’t know, I liked it a lot but I guess I’m a bit alone in that boat. Nice review, though. Definitely made me laugh none the less.

    • Wouldn’t say you’re alone. I checked Rotten Tomatoes and there seems to be a 50/50 split. (It’s at 49%) No one is calling it great, but there’s a lot of “Decent” reviews out there.

      But on the negative side of things there’s definitely a lot of haters out there.

      😀 I confess… I did kind of go off though, lol. 😮

  5. I enjoyed reading your post very much, and thanks for the warning. I also think that the poster to this film does hint that this film cannot possibly be any good. Personally – referring to the poster – I think this is not something you would display to attract many people to see it.

    • The trailer was pretty obnoxious too. I hated their “This is All of Us” conceit, when basically they’re showing their yuppy white affluent family happily bouncing on a trampoline.

      This though was an unexpected punch in the nose. LOL. I’m still bitter and I saw it Friday! 😀

  6. Before hearing any thoughts about this, I’ve been pre-comparing Kevin Smith’s proposed Clerks 3 as his version of This is 40. I think I’ll either stop doing that, or maybe predict it as being “This is 40 done right.” Will probably still give this one a shot, but probably not for a while.

    • Ugh.

      “Clerks 2” is on my permanent boycott list… If I have my way I’ll never watch it. I dont want it detracting from Clerks. I’ve already heard people like it, its not that bad, etc etc. But in my mind thats on the list of sequels that should never have been made.

      You can imagine how I’d feel, then, about the concept of a “Clerks 3”. LOL

      • Just watched Clerks 2 again a week or so ago. I think it’s great and it works. And you should never let a sequel detract from the original, even if it’s made by the same person. Which reminds me, I need to check out Christmas Story 2 sometime soon, it’s gotta be hilariously awful.

      • Lol. I don’t think I could stomach that one… Even if it has little to do with the first in terms of relation to the first one.

        And sorry man, I can’t help it. I don’t make ’em make shitty follow ups that I can’t unsee…

  7. Oh please. To think that Hollywood people know anything about getting old in a natural and everyday way, let alone acting in the place of real 40 year olds!?!

    *blows raspberry in general direction of Judd*

    And it’s got Megan Fox in it. Boobs or no boobs, I shall not waste my limited funds on such twitheaded drivel.

    (Oh I finally saw Dredd. Thrice. In the last twenty four hours. Skyfall is long gone. I am now an Urban-ite. Gonna go find your review of it and study it earnestly…)

    • Uh oh [Please have said good things about it, please have said good things about it… LOL]

      Nah, I remember, I thought it was good but not quite great. 😀

      Meanwhile, how’s this? Megan Fox was one of the best parts of this movie. and not just cause she shows us all her bra (GASP!!). The rest of this was just exaggerated bs about how shitty it is to be middle aged and have kids. I think even people who ARE middle aged and have kids will resent this. I bet they’d be like, “Piss off! Its not that bad!”

      • You did say good things about it, don’t worry! 😉 I think I like it more than you did, but I’m susceptible to weird obsessions like that. The visuals blew me away, and the soundtrack was in my itunes within minutes, so…yeah. I give in to Dredd.

        Weelll, Ms. Megan makes me jealous (she is gorgeous, as I am well aware), but she’s not too talented (from what I’ve seen), and she has wonky tattoos and flitty flighty interviews…I don’t find her to be a very believable character. But oh wait, that’s not even the point of this movie is it? My bad.

  8. OH wow…I was not expecting an “F”. I didn’t watch it yet, but plan on to. I just understand by what you mean with all the bitching. I liked them in Knocked Up, which is the only reason why I want to watch this movie. I’ll let you know what I thought. IDK….what does it say about me if I totally fall in love with this movie? That’s I’m a bad movie picker? Scary!

    • Nahhhh… What? I’m sure you’ve seen movies you didn’t see eye to eye with people on before. I mean, no one’s swaying my opinion on this one, but there’s people out there who like it.

      I don’t see anyone “Totally falling in love with it” though, even if they don’t hate it like I did. It’s just not that good. 😦

  9. I’m no Apatow fan though I’ve got to admit I laughed at the trailer. But oh boy, that bad eh? Well I’ll avoid this one then, especially since I never thought that turning 40 (which will happen to me in a few years time) is really that big a deal!

    • The funny thing is, it’s more about marriage and raising kids than it is about getting “old”. They forget about all the “Mom doesn’t want to turn 40” stuff pretty quick so they can spend time focusing on the couple arguing. LOL.

  10. I wonder if it’s based on true happenings. Leslie Mann is married to Judd Apatow. Probably won’t watch this one even on DVD.

  11. Ouch, harsh on this funny film, I felt; it’s probably more relatable to those who have been in long term relationshiphs. They’re fairly typical in their argumentative ways. McCarthy definitely a bright spot! Check out my much more favorable take.

  12. Merry Christmas! Fogs and company.

    Why would I pay cash money to see a film where a 40 year old man behaves and wants to be treated as a post-pubescent teenager? While the more adult, decision taking and noble role is portrayed by the wife.

    Isn’t that the plot lines of many of today’s films in the Romantic Comedy and Comedy genres?

    Where Nicholas Ray or Blake Edwards when you need them?

    • Yeah… that very much is the common role they seem to set up in today. I dont know that its 100% the case here, though there’s hints of that. I think theyre both equally adult and equally complicit in the misery.

      And yeah, no kidding, huh? No one’s going to be talking about Apatow in those kind of tones down the road… nobody. 😦

  13. I just saw it last night, and I’m with ya man. I could not wait for this to end. And if you hate it so much, who cares about the professionalism? Professionals should no better. Throw it up on your worst of list!

    • Ian… if you’ve got my back? I may just do that. I have one spot left and a couple of flicks fighting for it. We’ll see, I still have to think it out a bit.

      But thank you for agreeing with me, there’s a lot of positive reviews out there in the blogosphere, so it’s nice to have some support for calling it like it is. LOL

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