In This Is 40, Judd Apatow revisits characters from Knocked Up to explore the reality of married life for a middle-aged couple who have lost that loving feeling.
Laughter and tears are weighted heavily in favour of the former with some very funny interludes, including a marijuana-spiked vacation and actor Paul Rudd examining his lower portions in a mirror.
However, the characters’ various emotional crises scream out for resolution well before Apatow decides that he’s had his fill.
Pete (Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) have raised two beautiful daughters, 13-year-old Sadie (Maude Apatow) and eight-year-old Charlotte (Iris Apatow), but are now stuck in a rut.
Sadie is going through a difficult phase, clashing with her parents about her addiction to her favourite television show, Lost.
Meanwhile, precocious tyke Charlotte is upset by all of the screaming and shouting in the house.
As Debbie goes into denial about turning 40 in the very same week that Pete celebrates the same milestone, husband and wife re-evaluate their stagnating marriage.
This Is 40 hopes to recapture the sentimental glory of Knocked Up but lightning doesn’t strike twice, although it’s close.
Rudd and Mann are an attractive pairing and scenes of them bickering are galvanised by wonderful on-screen chemistry and a sharp script.
A scene-stealing cameo from Melissa McCarthy delivers big laughs. Regrettably, brevity is not the soul of Apatow’s wit. At an exhausting 133 minutes, the film could arguably be titled This Is 40 Minutes Too Long.