Apatow falls flat

The Apatow family will have a strange chronicle of their professional lives as Judd Apatow continues to include his wife, Leslie Mann, and two daughters in several of his feature films, including Knocked Up, Funny People, and the recently released This Is 40.

The latter, also featuring Paul Rudd, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox and Jason Segel, is the sequel to Knocked Up. The story follows Pete (Rudd) and Debbie (Mann) as they wrestle with midlife crises, struggling to accept the onslaught of turning 40.

While the premise is overdone and somewhat weak, the film is for the most part successful because there are plenty of laughs. Much of any comedic film’s faults can be excused if you consistently laugh throughout and This Is 40 is generally funny.

Judd Apatow still struggles with editing—the film reaches well over two hours—and toward the end of the film,  the already frail narrative becomes tedious. However, Rudd, Mann and the Apatow daughters all deliver effective roles and the movie has genuine laugh-out-loud moments.

Rudd, who still hasn’t convinced me he can carry a movie as lead actor, is in top form throughout. There is plenty of chemistry with Mann provides a lot of laughs; many of which derive from self-deprecation or struggling with her co-workers Desi (Fox) and Jodi (Charlyne Yi, star of Paper Heart).

Like the depressing Funny People, This Is 40 needs to be edited; some scenes tread for too long. There are far too many supporting characters that are introduced and go nowhere. These are only small caveats for performances that are full of life.

Each scene bursts with witty banter among the characters and, as a whole, the film consistently maintains attention. For the most part, the jokes succeed and overall This Is 40 redeems its negative loose ends by not overstaying its welcome for too long. Ultimately, it doesn’t tread new territory but the formula works well enough to deserve your attention.

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