This is 40
Age may change people physically, but never with their personality. I consider myself a victim of Peter Pan Syndrome. I still like a lot of the things I knew as a child. My heart still goes out to Disney and many of the nostalgic shows I saw. I thought that my emotions with them would vanish after high school when I was a bit of a cynic. It was during college where my nostalgic embrace was expanded upon. I wanted to learn more about my idols and why they were so great. I still love taking trips to Disneyland and watching their movies. I may be twenty-five and an adult, but I’m still myself.
I do think a lot about myself later in life. I think everyone fears for their own future. Maybe not with what society will bring them, but with how they will become. The forties are a start of the most middle portion of everyone’s lives. They have a fear that everything will go downhill and they must decide on the right path to take. This is 40 is a look into one family’s life as mom and dad are reaching forty and consider what they need to do about it.
Coming off as a spin off of Knocked Up, the movie focuses on the side characters of Debbie (played by Leslie Mann) and Pete (played by Paul Rudd). It’s been a while since they’ve endeared their brother and sister in laws and it’s time to examine where they are at now. Debbie doesn’t want to accept her upcoming fortieth birthday and continues to be the fighter of the family. Like the first movie, she’s cold and tough, but cares about her family and only wants things to go right. Pete is also approaching his fortieth, but doesn’t to seem to be affected by it. His record company is having trouble, as he only wants to sign classic rock bands like Graham Parker and The Rumour.
Leslie realizes that their days are just becoming faster and they will become ninety before they know it. So they deicide to make some changes. It is decided that the family will eat better and become more focused with spending time with each other. When part of the rule has the computer taken away, this upsets the children that are addicted to technology. During the change, Paul’s record company is starting to face closure when he can’t accept that what he’s done is a failure. In the meantime, Leslie is contemplating her own beauty while managing her own fashion store.
This movie’s really more of an examination on an upper-middle class family then a story. The focus is the relationship between everyone. Besides the family, there are many conversations with both grandparents, Larry (played by Albert Brooks) and Oliver (played by John Lithgow). A lot of these talks are not easy. Fighting between families is never pleasant, but that’s life. Many interactions do feel confortable, but I actually find them more realistic and relatable. The script from writer/director Judd Apatow actually makes some good points about the eventual age peak and how it’s going to affect everyone.
It would have been interesting if the story had good timing. But This is 40 is too damn long. At two hours and ten minutes, the movie becomes overwhelming in its struggle to find true focus. Unlike Knocked Up that had a pressured time goal, we get a movie that struggles to have a point. I can’t really figure out what exactly was the message; that families fight? They all do. I think that Apatow was trying to get across that no matter how deep a family is in trouble emotionally, there’s always a way to talk things out.
I’ll give this three and a half Graham Parker albums out of five. Maybe this will appeal to an older audience, or possibly that Apatow made this movie for himself, but I found myself struggling to make it to the end. What helps is some very funny dialogues that feel real.