Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: This is 40

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Paul Judd and Leslie Mann convincingly convey a 'just turned 40' mood. Photo / Supplied
Paul Judd and Leslie Mann convincingly convey a 'just turned 40' mood. Photo / Supplied

The approach of a 40th birthday makes many of us behave unusually, and it serves as the premise for this Judd Apatow sort-of sequel to Knocked Up. Apatow has taken a couple of characters from his 2007 comedy and created an amusing and bitingly honest comedy about family life in middle age.

As with most Apatow films it's important to be able to handle the prolific use of the F-word but, in this case, it's also necessary to get along with most of his family. Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann, partners Paul Rudd as the flawed, mostly likeable, occasionally annoying married couple, Pete and Debbie.

The story is set in the week they both turn 40. Debbie's in denial and taking the "I'm 38" approach, while Pete is happy to celebrate with a backyard barbecue. Very little goes according to plan; Paul's record label is in financial trouble, Debbie goes on a health kick, and their teenage daughter, Sadie, goes on the attack when the home's wi-fi is shut down.

Rudd and Mann do a great job, and there are some amusing cameos from Jason Segel as a fitness trainer, Albert Brooks as Pete's dad, and veteran musician Graham Parker as himself. Although they are all in danger of being outclassed by a couple of relative amateurs playing the children - Apatow and Mann's kids, Maude and Iris, play 13-year-old Sadie and 8-year-old Charlotte.

The younger sibling is absolutely adorable, while Sadie has her parents' comedic timing, especially when she's having a meltdown and is quite the scene-stealer.

This is 40 is a story about a white middle-class family's dramas, told in an exaggerated manner with a splash of irreverent and crude Judd Apatow magic dust.

It's a little silly, sometimes too pointed, and overly long, but at its heart are perceptive observations about the challenge of long-term relationships, raising a family, and turning 40 - some of which will ring true for many of us.

Stars: 3.5/5
Cast: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow
Director: Judd Apatow
Running Time: 134 mins
Rating: R16 (Drug use, sex scenes and offensive language)
Verdict: An amusing, honest, if exaggerated, look at turning 40

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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