This Is 40 Marks 10th Anniversary

Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd in This is 40. Courtesy of Universal.

This is 40, Judd Apatow’s sequel to 2007 hit comedy Knocked Up, marks the 10th anniversary of its theatrical release in 2012.

When it comes to Judd Apatow, his films can run long. This film is certainly no exception. It might have made for a great night out ten years ago when every place was closing early. Ten years later, you can really feel its run time. But hey, it’s a Judd Apatow movie and you already know that any film he makes will not be short when you press play. It’s just the way that he works and the unrated editions are even longer. Instead of pulling out the Blu-ray, I ended up watching the theatrical cut on Peacock this weekend. Interestingly, the film’s 2012 release came on the fifth anniversary of Walk Hard: A Dewey Cox Story, which Apatow co-wrote with Jake Kasdan.

The sequel follows Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) from the earlier film as both are turning 40 years old. I know, I know. It’s hard to buy Paul Rudd’s Pete turning 40 when the man never seems to age. Anyway, Pete and Debbie’s children, Sadie (Maude Apatow) and Charlotte (Iris Apatow), are a few years older and still perfectly cast. The gist of the film is that both Pete and Debbie are dealing with stress on their marriage. Outside of their family, the only other people returning are Jason (Jason Segel) and Jodi (Charlyne Yi).

Since we last saw them, Debbie has started up a boutique while Pete runs his own record label. Outside of their work, they’re having to deal with their daughters, the oldest of whom is obsessed with a small TV series called Lost. We get to meet their parents as Debbie welcomes her father, Oliver (John Lithgow), back into her life. Meanwhile, Pete does his best to cut his father, Larry (Albert Brooks), off in terms of borrowing money. Everything comes to a climax during Pete’s birthday party when Debbie reveals she’s pregnant and he storms off in anger.

Bringing Melissa McCarthy on to let her rip as the mother of Sadie’s classmate was a genius move. She’s not the only Bridesmaids cast member joining the fun as Chris O’Dowd plays one of Pete’s employees. Jason and O’Dowd’s Ron are involved in an awkward moment in the pool with Megan Fox’s Desi.

The funny scenes hold up to an extent. However, there are other times where the jokes feel unnecessary. For instance, jokes involving Megan Fox’s Desi. The actress can turn in a solid comedy performance but there are way too many scenes objectifying and sexualizing the actress. Knowingly or unknowingly, Apatow plays into this with how the character is written and depicted. It’s not surprising to see a like This Is 40 not aging well because there are scenes in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up that would make people uncomfortable today.

While doing press for pandemic comedy The Bubble, Apatow said that he’s developing on a sequel, This Is 50. It’s just a matter of time before audiences actually see the film. For starters, Paul Rudd’s schedule will have to free up from doing the Ant-Man and Avengers movies. Time will tell, for sure.

Something that surprised me on my anniversary rewatch is that Phedon Papamichael handles the film’s cinematography duties. The cinematographer is no stranger to comedy as he lensed Cool Runnings back in 1993. However, he is not a cinematographer that I tend to associate with Judd Apatow films. Regardless, he does a beautiful job with lensing the film.

Despite the funny moments in This Is 40, the running time and the parts that do not age well are not doing the film any favors as it turns ten years old.

CAST: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Chris O’Dowd, Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy, Graham Parker, and Albert Brooks

Universal released This Is 40 in theaters on December 21, 2012. Grade: 3/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.