Judd Apatow’s produced two movies this year (Wanderlust, Five-Year Engagement, but next week’s This Is 40 - which Apatow also wrote and directed - should easily topple them at the box office. Similarly, the filmmaker’s Knocked Up spinoff looks on course to avoid the love/loathe reactions to Lena Dunham’s HBO TV show Girls (which Apatow is a co-showrunner on).
This Is 40 is the sorta-sequel to Knocked Up (as previous trailers jokingly put it), in the sense that it revolves around Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debi (Leslie Mann, a.k.a. Mrs. Apatow) five years after the events of that film – dealing with challenges that come with reaching middle-age, married life, raising children and everything else in between. We have a final red band preview, with additional footage not seen in the previous adults-only promos.
Of course, this being an Apatow picture, the aforementioned “challenges” come in the forms of jokes about Rudd’s nether regions, Megan Fox’s (absence of) clothing, Pete and Debi’s sexual hangups and what’s the difference between a straight and gay mustache. In other words, This Is 40 is in keeping with its Apatow’s preferred approach to getting laughs – wherein people are invited to chuckle at their own personal shortcomings, as played up by the filmmaker’s cast for comedic effect.
Speaking of which: the cast for This Is 40 includes plenty of familiar Apatow-verse players – in addition to numerous ‘guest appearances’ – with such people as Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Chris O’Dowd (Girls), Lena Dunham and Charlyne Yi (House, M.D.) showing up for a scene or two. That’s not to mention, Apatow and Mann’s biological daughters Maude and Iris reprising their Knocked Up roles as Pete and Debi’s trouble-making offspring.
Three years have passed since Apatow wrote and directed Funny People, a project that reflected the filmmaker’s evolving sense of how to combine raunchy humor with sincere drama – but came up short for a number of people, which contributed to the film’s weaker-than-expected box office turnout. That’s to say: This Is 40 is shaping up to be a return-to-form for Apatow the storyteller, on both the financial and artistic fronts.
Besides, with Oscar-hopefuls arriving (Zero Dark Thirty, Les Misérables) and big blockbusters taking up space (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) - plus, a new Quentin Tarantino movie (Django Unchained) – Apatow’s film shouldn’t have any problems, standing out as a worthwhile alternative to the Winter Holiday season’s other offerings.
This Is 40 opens in theaters on December 21st.
Source: Funny or Die