This Is 40


Judd Apatow stays close to home…

Having already tackled adolescence (Freaks And Geeks, Superbad), arrested adolescence (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and impending parenthood (Knocked Up), Judd Apatow settles into his middle-age groove.

This Is 40 is a sweet, sprawling comedy of home truths designed to have you turning to your other half with a knowing smile (and occasionally checking your watch with a groan).

After almost two and a half hours spent in the company of someone else’s annoying family, it’s easy to sympathise with Paul Rudd’s angst.

Apatow’s wife and kids (Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow and Iris Apatow) return to their supporting characters from 2007’s Knocked Up, with both parents now confronting the dreaded big Four-Oh – even if they do only put 38 candles on the birthday cake.

The joke list often reads like an embarrassing Mumsnet blog (sex envy, saggy boobs, colon exams, farting in bed, haemorrhoids…), but a welcome sprinkling of foul-mouthed one-liners keep it a healthy distance from Grown Ups.

The cast list helps too, with Melissa McCarthy, Albert Brooks, Chris O’Dowd and Lena Dunham making memorably sweary cameos alongside a nondescript Megan Fox.

By now, it’s pretty much a given that an Apatow film will exceed its natural running time; This Is 40’s casual, baggy structure makes its lack of haste seem all the more self-indulgent (for those not needing to be anywhere in a hurry, the Blu-ray features an even more extended cut).

On the other hand, vanity project or not, the easy breezy chemistry breeds a charm and honesty that few other romcoms can dream of.

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