This is 40 ***/4 – a movie review by James Berardinelli

January 17, 2013 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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This is 40 has the feel of one of those French “family comedies” – sort of like the kind of thing brought to the screen by Cedric Klapisch, except with more profanity and vulgarity…writes James Berardinelli.

There’s not much in the way of a conventional narrative. This is 40 is essentially a window into the life of an upper middle-class American family over the course of a two-week period. Not much happens as we become privy to the ups and downs of the “married with two children” setup. There’s a lot of truth in what writer/director Judd Apatow puts on screen (much of which is undoubtedly drawn from his own life and marriage) but, like many French films of this genre, it runs too long. As engaging as the characters are, 135 minutes is too much time to spend in their company. The movie starts losing steam around the 90 minute point and doesn’t make it to the finish line on a high note.

This is 40 is being touted as a “sort-of sequel” to Knocked Up. Although the two movies share some of the same characters – Debbie (Leslie Mann), the “sister” in Knocked Up, and Pete (Paul Rudd) have been elevated from secondary players to the leads – This is 40 stands on its own. There’s no need to have seen the earlier movie to appreciate this one. A few other minor Knocked Up characters make appearances, but the principals from the earlier film are noticeably absent. (One wouldn’t have expected an appearance by Katherine Heigl in view of her public comments about Knocked Up and it might be odd for Seth Rogen to have a cameo without her.)

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