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. More
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. Hide