Oh how the mighty have fallen. It was just a few years ago (2007 actually) when Judd Apatow seemed to be on the cutting edge of cinematic comedy that to his raunchy rom-com Knocked Up. Sadly, his sequel finds him making the same old mediocre dross that he looked to be replacing.
When Knocked Up was released in 2007, it caused quite a stir with its unique mix of romance and juvenile humour. Whether or not you were a fan, you had to at least admit it was trying to breathe new life into the tired rom-com formula. Since then, other films have followed in its footsteps. One would expect that This Is 40, Knocked Up’s sequel, would be pushing the boundaries even further. Not so. In fact Apatow seems to be cruising on auto-pilot, offering up one tiresome setup after another.
This Is 40 focusses on Pete and Debbie, the upper-middle class couple played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (Apatow’s wife) in Knocked Up. Five years on, Leslie runs a boutique and Paul an independent record label. Who, I ask you, in this day and age, expects to be able to support a family (they have two children) by running an indie label? It’s the most absurd thing I’ve been asked to believe in a movie since Prometheus.
Anyway, the couple is going through a financial and personal crises…one of Debbie’s employees is stealing from the shop (it couldn’t be the gorgeous Megan Fox) and, surprise, surprise, Pete’s label is faltering after trying to resurrect Graham Parker’s career. Oh, and they are facing their 40th birthday. Didn’t anyone tell Apatow that 40 is the new 30 and no one cares?
So, the premise is pretty shaky, but the jokes are even worse. We get a few slightly amusing scenes with the wonderful Albert Brooks, who plays Pete’s bludgeoning dad, but otherwise the rest of the film is predicable drivel.
I understand why Graham Parker may have agreed to appear in the film, but ultimately, it’s not going to help his career…and bringing Ryan Adams in at the end to provide a solution to Pate’s label woes is ridiculous.
Even more so is the film’s running time of 133 minutes. It just goes on and on. So, run, don’t walk, away from your local cinema…do anything you can to avoid this piece of Hollywood claptrap. Let’s hope Judd Apatow recovers from his middle-age crisis and learns how to write a joke again.
Watch the trailer for This Is 40 here: