40 and unfunny

by Gazette Reporter

IF JUDD Apatow’s new film, This Is 40 was any realistic indication of middle age, the mortality rate among 39 year olds would be extremely high.
The film is called a stand alone sequel to Apatow’s 2007 hit, Knocked Up and focuses on the supporting characters of Pete played by Paul Rudd and Debbie played by Leslie Mann.
The couple are now turning 40 and their children are growing up and the plot (for want of a better word) revolves around their narcissistic refusal to accept the fact that they are ageing and that their relationship is an empty and unfulfilling disappointment.
Neither character is in any way likeable, they argue constantly and try to find meaning and genuine affection from each other where none exists or is deserved.
This was very hard work to watch, not least because half of the audience laughed at every vacuous line or cheap sexual innuendo.
The film begins with a sex scene in the shower, in the middle of which Pete, the Paul Rudd character, admits he has taken a Viagra.
This immediately causes the Debbie character to stop the action and launch into one of her many, many whining diatribes about how life and Pete are not as she would wish either to be.
Pete, in true stereotypical Hollywood style as the innocent, nonplussed male, cannot work out why his wife is angered by such an admission while Debbie moans about not being attractive enough for her husband to perform naturally.
As a character, Debbie is even more annoying than her husband as she seeks constant validation through her physical appearance and the striving for perfection, while all the while having the body of a pre-pubescent girl.
Other characters are as vapid, if not as annoying as the two leads.  Pete’s father, Larry, played by Albert Brooks, is a deadbeat who has triplet boys with his new wife thanks to IVF treatment and constantly bums money off Pete.
This character is thoroughly unfunny, reprehensible and unapologetic but depicted as a charming cad.
Megan Fox makes an appearance as Debbie’s employee Desi who is also a high-class hooker.
She fulfills her role as sex symbol admirably with all of the men justifiably drooling as she disrobes in every other frame.
There is a scene where Debbie is looking at Desi’s body and starts to feel her breasts with fascination as though she has never seen such things before.
Her co-worker, Jodi, played by Charlene Yi is truly disturbing as the Oxocontin addict with a penchant for imitating the Exorcist’s Regan McNeill.
The whole thing is a bizarre mess of half-formed ideas and flat jokes. The cast of actors which includes John Lithgow, though stellar, can never pull this written off vehicle out of its inertia.
In another weird twist, Chris O’Dowd appears with a full moustache and is literally in competition with Jason Segal, an actor who would be his natural competitor for Hollywood roles.
The only mildly redeeming and amusing bit of the film is a turn by Melissa McCarthy who plays the mother of a boy who has been cyber-bullying Debbie and Pete’s daughter.

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