This Is 40 | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

This Is 40

Judd Apatow's self-indulgent comic spin on the familiar travails of domesticity mostly falls flat

Artisanal bikers: Robert Smigel and Paul Rudd
Artisanal bikers: Robert Smigel and Paul Rudd

This Is 40 is a comedy, and while there are a few laughs and some funny bit players, mostly I was thinking: This is the longest not-very-funny film I've ever sat through.

Seriously, writer-director Judd Apatow's film is two hours and 15 minutes, during which not much even happens: A married couple turning 40 (Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann) have mild freak-outs about aging, parenting, parents, marriage, work and money.

But good comedy comes from pain, and it's hard to care about the mid-life crisis of perfectly toned people, who barely seem to work, have a palatial home and, despite lip-service, don't really seem to care about money. (Twice, the sum of $12,000 is shrugged off.) This may be 40 for the Apatows (four of whom — his wife, two kids and an iPad — star in this film) but universality isn't 40's strong suit.

Apatow's self-indulgent comic spin on the familiar travails of domesticity falls flat, trading funny banter and likable characters for whining and squabbling dressed up in lazy, self-conscious dialogue. (Besides, Louis C.K. is already killing it on the small screen, with his funny but heartfelt examinations of being a 40-something parent, straddling hip and dead.) 

The film's biggest laugh came when the end-credits blooper reel offered the unexpurgated scene-stealer, Melissa McCarthy. No disrespect to her take-no-prisoners rant, but shouldn't we be laughing more during the film and not when it's over?

Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary
27 images

Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary

By Mars Johnson