This is 40: This Puts the Fun in Funny and Then Some—Movie

Laugh out loud funny…relatable…clever…profane…and  did I say laugh out loud funny?  I did, but I can’t say it enough. “This is 40” is all this and more.  Married, single, with children or not…it doesn’t matter. If you have one scintilla of a sense of humor you will love this movie.

Written and directed by Judd Apatow, “This is 40” spends a year in the lives of Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann). The film is billed as a “sort of” follow-up to “Knocked Up.” Perhaps, but I know I didn’t laugh as much at that movie and, frankly, it doesn’t matter if you’ve seen it or not. Just know that This is 40 posterPete and Debbie are back and have this movie to themselves, along with their two daughters, fathers and friends.

Debbie, who owns a small boutique, has just turned 40 and is not happy about it. Pete, a retro record label producer, is having major financial problems. Not grounds for comedy? Wrong. In Judd Apatow’s world everything is good for a laugh.

I am an unabashed Paul Rudd lover and feared he would never find a comedy worthy of his talents. Thank goodness “This is 40” came his way. It suits him perfectly. Rudd is one of the funniest straight men in movies today and because he can really act, is terrific when the script calls for pathos…emotion. His scenes with everyone are just sheer perfection.

Leslie Mann is a gifted comedic actress. Her real-life husband, Apatow, knows how to take advantage of that little girl voice of hers and has gifted her with a script that fits like a glove.

The rest of the cast is equally awesome. The two Apatow daughters, Maude and Iris, as Sadie and Charlotte respectively, are fabulous as Pete’s and Debbie’s children. Iris, in particular, seems to have a real flair for comedy.  Albert Brooks as Paul Rudd’s father and John Lithgow as Debbie’s father each have memorable scenes…some funny, some not…but very authentic.  Both fathers have new, younger families and Brooks’ scenes with his identical triplet toddlers are hysterical. A real treat in a small, but meaty role is the hardest-working woman in today’s cinema, Melissa McCarthy, as the foulest-mouthed, in-your-face parent ever (stay through the credits for some of her best work). Jason Segel, Megan Fox and Chris O’Dowd help round out some of the supporting players.

In addition to a talented cast is the terrifically witty dialogue. It’s meaty, sometimes, mean, but oh so funny. Will I ever be able to look at a long-term single guy without “Cloonyfied” coming to mind? I think not. And the fear of becoming “Schwimmered” for some men will really hit home. There are digs at John Goodman and “Mad Men,”  just to name two. And the running tribute to “Lost” is genius…pure genius.

Does every scene work? No. One scene toward the end is particularly hard to watch, and given the country’s climate after the movie’s release date, would probably have been left on the cutting room floor if Apatow could have a do-over. Is this movie for children or teens? No! A thousand times no!

If you’re over 18, leave your sensibilities at the door and be prepared to laugh your head off.  “This is 40” is the most fun to come your way at the movies in a long time.

4 nuggets out of 4

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