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Published on December 21st, 2012 | by Genevieve Mc Bride

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This is 40

The last time we saw Pete and Debbie in the movie “Knocked Up”, they were just reconciling after a short separation. Pete found Debbie too controlling and regularly escaped the house leading Debbie to believe he was having an affair when really he was in a fantasy baseball draft. Five years later, Pete is no longer a band promoter but trying to keep his own record label afloat, while Debbie owns and manages a clothing boutique.

To the casual observer, Pete and Debbie, played with great chemistry by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, live an idyllic life with a nice house, two daughters and promising businesses. But a closer look finds Pete would rather play Scrabble on his iPad while on the toilet than spend time playing with his daughters. Most would never guess Debbie is a stress smoker since she goes to great lengths to hide her habit. Stressing over turning 40 isn’t helping her quit and neither is trying to figure out which of her employees is stealing from her. Is it the sexpot Desi, played easily by Megan Fox, or is it the strange Jodi, played with eerie weirdness by Charlyne Yi? As for Pete’s business, his stubborn antipathy towards popular music is driving his record label towards bankruptcy. But that’s not all that’s troubling Pete and Debbie. Both have daddy issues and neither know how quite to handle their over-emotional 14 year old daughter.

Sound like a hodge-podge of dilemmas? It certainly is. What started out as an amusing tale of turning 40 quickly devolved into a manic mess of pointing fingers, curse words, teenage angst and mental breakdowns. At one point in the film, Debbie’s dad, played by John Lithgow, looked utterly confused and I could empathize. If this movie had a storyline, it got lost along with any sympathy for Pete or Pete’s dad played by Albert Brooks. You know it’s bad when you start hoping the 8 year old daughter, Charlotte, says something funny again to break the tension.

With this strong cast of actors, including director Judd Apatow’s daughters Maude and Iris who played Pete and Debbie’s daughters, Sadie and Charlotte, there was no issue with the performances. Maybe some of the story was trimmed away in the editing room, but with a run time of 134 minutes, one would think some semblance of a storyline could have been left. Sure, there was plenty to laugh at, especially with bit parts played by Jason Segal, Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd.

I really wanted to like this movie. Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann sounded like the perfect trio to make a funny movie. Alas, the funny stuff is in the trailers. Save yourself some dough and wait for the DVD, where some of the storyline may make it in the deleted scenes.

2.5 out of 5


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