Time Out Sydney

Any filmmaker who casts his wife and children in central roles is inviting autobiographical readings, though one hopes Judd Apatow’s family life is less tumultuous than the one in This Is 40. Billed as a ‘sort-of sequel’ to his Knocked Up, this scattered but ambitious comedy from the writer-director-producer plays more like a spin-off, focusing on the supporting characters of that 2007 smash. No more financially or emotionally stable than they were five years earlier, bickering spouses Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Mrs Apatow herself, Leslie Mann) navigate the rocky terrain of marriage, parenthood and middle age. The kids are played by the filmmaker’s own brood (14-year-old Maude and ten-year-old Iris), who have grown into confident child actors.

For all its broad comic bits – Pete faking bowel movements to sneak off for alone time, Debbie confronting a teenage boy who’s been harassing her daughter – the film demonstrates a shrewd understanding of the cycles of fighting and reconciliation that plague long-term relationships. What Apatow hasn’t outgrown, alas, is his tendency to overstuff every movie with superfluous bit players.

Sign up to our monthly film newsletter

By AA Dowd   |  

This Is 40 details

Length: 134 minutes

Country of origin: USA

Year of production: 2012

Classification: M - Mature audiences

Showing 17 Jan 2013-27 Feb 2013

Director: Judd Apatow

Cast: Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd

Collaboration Brew launch

Collaboration Brew launch

Bottled Lightning Co are back in the Inner West, and getting ready to tap their latest collaboration brew at Public House Petersham

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get the Time Out weekend planner. Straight to your inbox, every Thursday.
Read more