Sunday, 3 March 2013

This is 40 | Cinema Review

This sort-of-sequel to the popular comedy Knocked Up reunites stars Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd with director, and husband for the former, Judd Apatow to continue the tumultuous and often turbulent relationship between Knocked Up's true star couple, Pete and Debbie.

There ain't no Heigl or Rogen on tap for an appearance so don't be squabbling over minor tweaks that Apatow may or may not have wanted to include, but it's really for the best. The limelight is on Pete and Debbie, and as we remember them so fondly from its predecessor, they're truly the epitome of an everyday couple, arguments, disagreements and all, and there are many of as they hit the age of 40, dealing with careers, children, money and hormones.

The footing is rife thanks to Apatow's dedication and clear love for the characters -- and dramedies themselves. His genre-clashing capabilities ably induce enough drama within the general comedy that Apatow's 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up are riddled with, even though, despite the occasional boob slip, fart joke or Megan Fox's face, there's enough Lost coverage, lighthearted banter between a riveting on-screen couple and cameos to prove it much more tasteful than you may initially think. But it's the general happenings of Pete and Debbie, the dawning of 40 and the realisation that they're youth is behind them that stamps a backbone of heaviness behind This is 40, separating it from every other coming-of-old-age dramedy out there.

Though it's all slightly over-exaggerated for entertainment purposes, Apatow easily touches upon everyday problems most couples are undoubtedly expected to come across at least once in their lives -- both good and bad. Amidst the general occasional annoyance of a spouse, money problems hit the family hard and hurtle them into financial panic. Debbie's clothing store is oddly down a large sum of money, but whether or not it's Megan Fox, an affable support for the store, or the mousy Charlene Yi is a mystery, whereas Pete's record label is bringing in nothing, opting out for the predictable yarn most are producing and reliving the days of a golden oldie.

While their careers are up in the air, family drama is an enormous stress-inducer. Between two squabblesome daughters, Debbie's distant father John Lithgow wants back on the scene whereas Pete's, played by Albert Brooks, is more inclined to guilting his way into their pockets despite their current descent into financial ruin. Currently, their lives are a mess, and Apatow knows how to play on it, either by tugging on the heartache between a relationship that could be sizzling out, or on the comedy of everything and anything that could and is going wrong.

It's not quite as heavy as Funny People but it's sure as hell the funniest entry in Apatow's career since The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and with two leads that are as infinitely likeable as these, there's no two-and-a-bit duration that flies quite as quickly as this.

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