This Is 40

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
This Is 40 Movie Poster Image
Edgy midlife comedy has realistic relationship, thin plot.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 134 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

What 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).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6-year-old Written bymommabrown June 30, 2013


The RedBox said nothing about nudity and even the rating on here said something like "breasts but none really". Sorry but that IS NUDITY! Children u... Continue reading
Parent of a 5, 6, 7, and 9-year-old Written bymom2fourgr8kids May 19, 2013

Good for a laugh!

This movie is definitely not appropriate for kids - but it wasn't supposed to be! It has some dull moments, but overall a pretty funny movie. I'm on... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old May 3, 2020


I watched this movie and had a sex scene in the beginning which we fast forwarded through. Then it was very dirty and smoking. A 6 yr old, 9 yr old, and a 10 yr... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAlaina.Adkinson August 16, 2016

Just be careful

This movie was really funny but it has a lot of swearing and bad role models.

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

  • In theaters: December 21, 2012
  • On DVD or streaming: 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
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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