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Movie Review

This Is 40 also known as “This Is Forty”

MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language and some drug material.

Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson

Extremely Offensive
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2 hr. 14 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 21, 2012 (wide—2,900+ theaters)
DVD: March 22, 2013
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

reaching 40th birthday

lying about your age

husband and wife relationships

marriages that are in major trouble

strained family relationships

parents fighting in front of their children

use of medical marijuana

concealing pregnancy from husband

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

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Featuring: Jason SegelJason
Megan FoxDesi
Paul RuddPete
Lena Dunham
Leslie MannDebbie
Chris O'Dowd
Melissa McCarthy
John LithgowOliver
Albert Brooks
more »
Director: Judd Apatow
Producer: Apatow Productions
Forty Productions
more »
Distributor: Universal Pictures

Pete and Debbie are both turning 40 this week. While that’s just a number, to them it’s much more. Like many others who turn 40, Pete and Debbie are starting to take stock in what they have and where they are. They’ve got two daughters, a beautiful house, a Lexus and a BMW. They also have Debbie’s failing boutique and Pete’s fledgling record company. Combine that with parents who either need money or are nonexistent in their lives, and Pete and Debbie find themselves with more stress than they can handle. This is the conceit behind “This Is 40”, the latest slice-of-life dramedy from writer/director Judd Apatow. The film, like almost all of Apatow’s previous work, presents a hybrid of deep, emotional life lessons and raucous, vulgar content.

Unlike Apatow films “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up”, “This Is 40” doesn’t have a traditional plot that includes an antagonist or central crisis. It is simply a two-plus hour look at the ins and outs of Pete and Debbie’s relationship, for better or worse. This results in a film that drastically transitions from comedy to drama and back again, with the goal of mirroring real life.

Pete and Debbie let their resentment at some individual choices manifest itself in anger towards their spouse and their children. They must find ways to cope with their insecurities while relying on their partner to help instead of hinder. These deep, emotional issues lay the foundation for a film that’s less of a crowd pleaser than some have anticipated. It’s a movie that is more likely to make some viewers uncomfortable, than it will be to make them stand up and cheer.

The acting is fine across the board. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are excellent as the titular characters. They play off each other as though they’ve been married for years. Maude and Iris Apatow (real life daughters of Judd Apatow and wife Leslie Mann) are excellent as the daughters of the family. Never once do they feel as though they’re acting. Actors Jason Segel, Robert Smigel, Albert Brooks, and John Lithgow all have supporting roles.

The movie, as a whole, does tend to meander from scene to scene, in no real hurry to get anywhere. This is a common characteristic of many Apatow films, all of which clock in at over 2 hours, which is quite substantial for any film that’s labeled “comedy”.

Also on display in this “comedy” is a gratuitous amount of inappropriate content. Like his previous efforts, Apatow films every scene with an “anything goes” mentality. This means most every scene involves improvisational acting, which contains a hefty amount of profanity as well as sexual dialogue. On top of that, there are two different instances of female nudity, as well as plenty of other scenes involving children cursing, as well as graphic sexual dialogue.

Mr. Apatow clearly writes and directs movies without an eye or ear for moral content problems, but he also places shockingly positive messages in most of his films. His previous work has produced strong statements in favor of abstinence and pro-life causes. Apatow’s message about marriage, at its core, is similarly uplifting. Is Pete and Debbie’s marriage perfect? Not even close. Do they run from their problems and divorce immediately? Nope. Instead, they continue to try (sometimes failing) and communicate with each other in order to make their union work. “This Is 40” also showcases how little material possessions matter. Whether it is intentional or not can be debated, but the overarching theme of the film is that nothing material has made Pete and Debbie happy.

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Extreme—f-words (over 100), “Oh J*sus Chr*st,” “Jesus Christ” (2), “Jesus” (3), “G*d-d*mn” (7), OMG (7), “Oh G*d” (4), “My God” (2), “God” (6), “For G*d’s sakes,” “Swear to God,” numerous vulgar sexual words, s-words (20), and many more / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—I always come here first to see what other Christians write for comments on movies. There were none for this one and still are not any. I am turning 40 soon and thought this would be a funny and cute movie to see for a date night, so I took the chance to go see this with my Christian boyfriend. We both enjoy comedies and laughing, and I sure needed to laugh the night we went. Knowing this is rated R, I cautiously informed him that this might end up being really bad—and it was!

The very first opening scene takes us to the master bedroom shower where you hear sexual moaning and the backside of the husband as he and his wife are having sex. The f-word comes immediately and stays ridiculously heavy throughout the film. I have to guess about 100 times! The wife’s breasts are shown twice, and there are other sexual scenes/talk throughout. The few laughs was not worth it—I was embarrassed and felt awful to have picked this movie for my boyfriend and I. This is an extremely raunchy film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Dawn, age 39 (USA)
Negative—not worth watching
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Terry, age 45 (USA)
Negative—My husband of 15 years and I both turn 40 this year, and I thought this would be a movie we could identify with. We only got about 15 minutes in to the movie and had to turn it off. The sex scene in the shower(at least between two married people) was shocking as the opening of the movie, but the steady stream of curse words was too much to handle. Even the teenager was screaming f#*k when she could not find clothes to wear in her closet. The conversation between the personal trainer and the main character was completely inappropriate, especially since she was married.

We could not see this movie improving enough through the storyline to watch the whole thing and endure all the vulgar language and mature content that we assumed would only get more graphic.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive
—Tiffany, age 39 (USA)

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