Saturday, December 22, 2012

This is 40

The experience of watching Writer/Director Judd Apatow’s This is 40, is akin to riding a rollercoaster.  You start out on an upward fun-filled ride for the first 20 or so minutes and, then, there’s a deep dive to the depths. 

Occasionally, you go up again for a few out-loud laughs, but, then, within seconds or minutes, you dive down once more.  And, by “depths,” I mean the film turns sour… sometimes even swarmy…unless things like watching a colonoscopy on an operating room monitor is your idea of fun.

The problem is the males…both the roles and the actors playing them.  While Leslie Mann, the Apatow girls, Megan Fox, Charlyne Yi and most all the other females portray humans of value and play them well, the male roles are mostly losers with some played quite badly.  The normally enjoyable Paul Rudd does nothing to make the lead role in any way engaging and Albert Brooks gives an embarrassingly poor showing as his father.  

Come to think of it, most of those “ups” I referred to are provided by the women. Perhaps Writer/Director Apatow needs a son to go along with his fine daughters.  Might that not help him with developing meaningful male characters? 

With all the ups and downs, the feeling of the audience was best echoed about two-thirds of the way into the film, when the youngest daughter cried out, “I’m sick of everybody fighting.”  

While the ending is supposed to be an up, I walked out feeling sorry for the wife and her daughters, who would have to continue living with their “putz” of a father.  I was hoping that the title was secretly meant to be This is 40 in L.A.; that, perhaps, the family tragedy depicted might somehow be limited.  But, alas, I know that is only my fantasy.  

I give This is 40 a 4 for the ups and a 2 for the downs, and, therefore, an average 3 out of 5 overall.

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