This Is 40 is Judd Apatow‘s hilarious love letter to the people he loves most: his wife, Leslie Mann, and two daughters, Maude and Iris Apatow. In his fourth directorial outing, the comedy director fleshes out the marriage of Debbie and Pete, the neurotic couple from 2007′s Knocked Up, played by Mann and Paul Rudd. Once again, Mr. Apatow is able to deliver a movie that is LOL funny, filled with pop cultural references, physical comedy and wonderful cameos.

The Players:

The Plot:

Pete lives in a house full of women, including his wife Debbie and two daughters, Charlotte and Sadie. As he struggles to keep his record label afloat in a hard economy, he and Debbie must figure out how to forgive, forget and enjoy the rest of their lives together.

The Good:

  • Funny In Every Way: Saying that a Judd Apatow movie is funny is stating the obvious. Of course This Is 40 is funny. It’s a comedy directed by a comedy pro, and despite what some may have said about him (after Funny People) he hasn’t lost his touch. Apatow uses everything and anything he can to make us laugh. The situations he puts his characters in are awkward and uncomfortable, but also realistic and relate-able. Who remember the endless arguments they had with their parents as teenagers? Or the time a parent asked to “borrow” some money… again? Or know someone who grew up not knowing their father? These are the types of the real-life situations that Apatow uses to make jokes. This is what he finds funny, and it works for us too.
  • Performances: Apatow has quite a cast. Mann and Rudd bring out the best in each other, and their chemistry is undeniable. Apatow’s daughters are also growing up to be quite the comedians, and that’s just thanks to him really. Maude’s sarcasm and pop cultural references work so well. Apatow needs to make a movie starring Maude because we couldn’t get enough of her. Brooks is also a treat, perfectly cast as Rudd’s mooching father. And Melissa McCarthy – she has one the funniest scenes in the whole movie. During a meeting with Deb, Pete and a the school’s principal, she tries to sort out some problem. Deb and Pete gang up on her, denying everything she’s accusing them of, and she reacts by insulting them with harsh, crude comments that are just absolutely brilliant and hilarious.
  • Lost References: One of the big things in the film is Maude’s addiction to Lost. She’s binge-watching the show, and crying all the time. As a result, Lost becomes the center of a lot of jokes, which usually come up whenever Maude is having heated arguments with Debbie. If you’re a Lost or J.J. Abrams fan, you’ll appreciate these references.

The Bad:

  • It Feels Scattered: As a comedy, This Is 40 hits the bull’s eye. But as a dramatic movie, it fails to stay focused. At times, the movie feels like an anthology, a collection of a series of situations in the like of shows like Louie and Girls. That’s not a bad thing, but for those of you looking for a meaty dramedy, this is not it (try Silver Linings Playbook). Also, a lot of semi-serious issues are introduced at the beginning of the film and later forgotten, and never wrapped up.

Overall:

This Is 40 is definitely worth your time. This is probably not the Apatow dramedy you were expecting, but it’s a hilarious comedy that pokes fun at the things married couples, with children, worry about when they hit that age. There’s great performances, and like Knocked Up, we suspect this movie will be one of those that you can just watch over and over again.

The Rating: 8/10

This Is 40 opens in theaters Friday, December 21st.

Photo Gallery:

Trailer:

Will you be seeing This Is 40 this weekend?