Judd Apatow has evolved as a director, progressing from his earlier works, such as “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” which relied heavily on funny-vulgar humor, to his more recent movies like “Funny People” and “This is 40.” In his latest film, Apatow deftly interweaves deeper subject matters, such as love, marriage, parenthood, responsibility, and family, with his trademark irreverent humour .
“This is 40” is a spin-off to “Knocked Up,” with Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, and Iris Apatow reprising their roles. Katherine Heigel and Seth Rogen are notably absent, the former having openly criticized Apatow during the press conferences for “Knocked Up.” However, Rogen’s character is mentioned in the movie.
The film revolves around the struggles of the family, with Sadie going through puberty and becoming a drama queen, while they face significant financial difficulties. Pete’s record company is on the verge of bankruptcy, and his deadbeat dad (Albert Brooks) is mooching off him.
The first half of the movie follows the familiar Apatow comedy formula, but as the story progresses, it delves deeper into the characters’ relationships and problems, making it more engaging. What sets this film apart from others is that it lacks the typical Hollywood happy ending. The characters still have their quirks and annoyances, and there is no quick fix or happily-ever-after conclusion, making it a refreshing departure from formulaic comedies.
While the movie was enjoyable, it did feel a bit too long, with some scenes that could have been trimmed. Nevertheless, with the same cast and creative team, “This is 40” could be adapted into an excellent HBO or Showtime series.