(Married couple struggles with middle age angst)
Remember Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann) from "Knocked Up?” They're back, in a sort of sequel that finds them married with two daughters and turning 40.
The opening sex scene sets the tome for more raunchy encounters intermingled with a few touching, tender and humorous moments. While they are both about to turn 40, Debbie will only admit to 38 and refuses to be a subject for the upcoming birthday party for Pete. Everything leads to the party, when both of their fathers, who have had negative influences on their lives, will come together with family and friends for the big climax.
In its favor, "This is 40" touches a number of situations that are true to life. Middle age, middle class families face the inevitable problems of sex, finances, families, spoiled children and relationships. Some of these are funny, some are poignant and many are just plain raunchy, so if you are sensitive about frank – very frank – sexual conversations and lots of profanity, you may wish to skip this one. (The fact that it is a sequel to "Knocked Up" should be warning enough).
I enjoyed the moments when Debbie tried to change the family's direction by changing their food habits, use of electronic devices and, mostly, their attitudes. She uses "I messages,” an old psychologist trick, to hilarious results.
James Brooks plays Rudd's unreliable, money-borrowing father, while John Lithgow plays Mann's absent father. They both play heavily in the final birthday party scene, where people finally let out their long time anger and resentment.
There are some good, true-to-life moments in this movie which, unfortunately, caters to the "Let's push the envelope a little further" trend. It is all about forgiveness and getting on with your life, but sometimes it is difficult to forgive the writers for their gross sexual and bathroom humor. If that doesn't bother you, you may enjoy this one.
Rated a big R, with sex, profanity, nudity, drugs and even a little violence.