This Is 40

 
(i)

 

Edgy midlife comedy has realistic relationship, thin plot.
  • Review Date: December 19, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 134 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This Is 40 takes the position that marriage is hard, and people will irritate each other no matter how strong a connection they may have. But being able to ignore the small stuff and work together on the big things, even when you might think your partner is acting ridiculous, is the key to making a relationship last for the long haul.

Positive role models

Pete and Debbie bicker about what music to listen to, nag each other about each other's unhealthy and annoying habits, fight about parenting issues, and lie about their spending habits. In other words, they have a convincingly normal marriage, and when they aren't screaming, they clearly love each other. In fact, in one tender moment they promise never to murder each other, and it really sounds caring.

Violence

Several heated fights -- between a long-married couple, between parents and children, and between a frustrated boss and his employees. Two men get into a fist fight that leaves one rolling on the ground in pain.

Sex

Lots of sexual references, and two scenes featuring a married couple in intimate moments, including a spontaneous episode of oral sex that shows a woman's head moving up and down. A wife propositions her husband (her breasts are shown) in a scene that's anything but intimate. Other scenes show a woman in her underwear for no specific reason. A married couple watches a young woman have enthusiastic sex from a webcam when she doesn't know she's being watched. Another scene shows one female character poking at another's breasts with admiration. A character admits to being a professional escort. A breast is shown when a character gets a mammogram.

Language

Tons of swearing, with very frequent use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "d--k," "c--k," "prick," "a--hole," "c--t," "p---y," "boob," "ass," "crap," "damn," "goddamn," "oh my God," and more. Teens swear at their parents, and adults swear at other teens, as well as each other, both during casual conversation and in moments of stress.

Consumerism

Many Apple products are featured prominently, especially a frequently used iPad. Several characters wear Nike sportswear. Characters also name-check well-known brands, including Facebook and the TV show Glee. The series Lost plays an important role in the plot and is mentioned repeatedly. Many musicians are also mentioned by name, and a few appear in the film.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

An adult couple gets very high on pot cookies and acts ridiculous. A woman is trying to give up cigarettes but often smokes them secretly. People drink beer and other drinks at bars and parties.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that This Is 40 is a sort-of sequel to Judd Apatow's popular comedy Knocked Up, following that movie's supporting characters, Debbie (Leslie Mann) and Pete (Paul Rudd), as they hit mid-life and start taking their marriage, and each other, for granted. It's classic Apatow, combining raunchy humor with tender moments, sometimes in the same scene, in ways that seem both realistic and entertaining. There are lots of sexual references and some intimate moments (though not much actual nudity beyond a woman's breasts), suggested oral sex, graphic bathroom humor, a scene of adults getting very high on pot cookies, other drinking/smoking, kids and teenagers misbehaving, and tons of strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and much more).

What's the story?

Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) have been married for a long time -- long enough to have two daughters, two careers that are somewhat less than thriving, a big house, and a big mortgage. They've also been together so long that the passion is waning, and they sometimes feel more like roommates than lovers. Judd Apatow's THIS IS 40, which centers on the week that Pete and Debbie are both having that momentous birthday, is all about the issues that midlife couples feel when their marriage seems like a business partnership, and raising kids and managing a household is a second job.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Apatow is clearly in the driver's seat here, showing cracks in a marriage that feels real while still delivering plenty of laughs. Rudd and Mann have great chemistry, and when they bicker, it feels just like two people who know each other intimately and are truly sick of each other. This alone -- and a glimpse at Apatow and Mann's daughters, who play Pete and Debbie's progeny to perfection -- makes This Is 40 worth the watch.

Just don't expect any earth-shattering epiphanies or any sort of offbeat, unique perspective that would elevate this to comedy masterpiece stature. This Is 40 dots all its i's and crosses its t's: The requisite joke about aging (and fear of declaring your real age), the fights between two sisters -- they're all there. Yet it is possible to make a really funny movie that's insightful, too. (See Steve Martin's canon, or most of it.) This Is 40 just isn't it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how This Is 40 portrays marriage. Does Pete and Debbie's relationship seem realistic? Does it seem healthy? How does it compare to other movie marriages?

  • Would you say Pete and Debbie are good parents? How do their relationships with their kids compare to their relationships to their own fathers?

  • Does the fact that This Is 40 is a comedy make the issues it touches on seem less serious? Do raunchy bits make movies like this funnier, or do they go overboard?

  • How relatable is Pete and Debbie's lifestyle? Does that fact that they're wealthy make their issues less sympathetic?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 21, 2012
DVD release date:March 22, 2013
Cast:Jason Segel, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd
Director:Judd Apatow
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:134 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language and some drug material

This review of This Is 40 was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byLSU Mom January 16, 2013
 

I'm 40-ish and This is Pretty Accurate

Honest, funny movie, but with a great deal of dialogue and explicit (though not lurid) sex scenes that are, in my opinion, not for younger teens. The movie plods on a bit and like a lot of recent films could use a better editor for time. Other than that, very entertaining.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bydsmith59 January 5, 2013
 

OK for Teenagers

I thought the movie was cute, a little risky at times, but I took my fourteen year old and sixteen year old to see it. They thought it was very funny. I thought my children were mature enough to handle it. If yours aren't, please don't take them to the theatre.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byStevie111 January 18, 2013
 

Funny movie has plot and messages amidst crude jokes

What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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