“This Is 40” is a flat out funny new release DVD. The very opening seconds will make you laugh out loud and it only gets better from there. However, it tries to get too much better and starts to run out of steam with larger than necessary story elements and far too many characters. You’re left with a rollercoaster ride of big laughs and smiles followed by less interesting lulls that leave you waiting for the really good parts to return.
Writer-director Judd Apatow (“The 40 Year Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up”) knows middle age and mines beautifully raunchy humor from it. His insightful and realistic marital sex comedy avoids being offensive and instead leaves you nodding your head as you laugh your tail off. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are perfectly paired as a married couple reaching mutual 40th birthdays. Heightened sibling rivalry amongst their young daughters (beautifully played by real-life husband and wife Apatow and Mann’s daughters Maude and Iris Apatow) add to the hilarity inducing stress of their mutual mid-life crises.
When “This Is 40” stays focused on the family, the results are flawless. Rudd and Mann wonderfully spar and sparkle with and off each other and bring to mind middle-aged versions of Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally.” Little Iris Apatow as 8-year-old daughter Charlotte just about steals the movie from everyone. Her deadpan line deliveries, comic energy, timing and overall honesty add up to the best child performance of the last year.
But the movie is simply too long and bogs down when it goes into the problems with Rudd and Mann’s respective businesses. Further clunking it up are the introductions of Albert Brooks and John Lithgow as their mutual remarried-with-young-children problematic fathers. Also joining the huge cast are Jason Segal, Megan Fox, Chris O’Dowd and Melissa McCarthy. They do have some funny moments, but they move the film in other directions and disrupt its overall flow. Still, overwritten as it is, this a must-see adult comedy.
“This Is 40” can be found on DVD and Blu-ray at your Roanoke Valley Public Library.