• Wed, Dec 19 2012

This Is 40 Will Be The Most Depressing Feel-Good Family Movie You See This Year

This is 40 Cast Photo

Look, I laughed a lot during This is 40. But I also made a pact with myself before the movie ended to never get married. Not if there’s a chance that my husband and I could end up like Debbie (Leslie Mann) and Pete (Paul Rudd). If I wanted to relive the days leading up to my parent’s divorce, I’d simply save myself some money and tap into the ‘ole memory bank that lives in my head. Then again, with that said, if I am going to relive a bad marriage, it’s probably more aesthetically pleasing to do it with Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. Sorry Mom and Dad. You can be extras.

The problem with This is 40 isn’t necessarily the movie itself, but rather the way it’s being advertised. It’s classic Family Stone territory. Lure the unsuspecting movie viewers in with an innocent comedy about a dysfunctional family — and then rip out their heart midway through by throwing in so much horrible sadness.

From the beginning of the This is 40 movie campaign, they advertised it as a comedy. I mean, it’s the sorta sequel to the very funny movie Knocked Up. Sure that movie addressed some stressful issues, like having a child before you’re ready, but it did it humorously. This is 40 however covered approximately a billion stressful topics and did it by having its two main characters fight with each other for two hours. And yes, I knew that Debbie and Pete basically hate each other in Knocked Up, but I kinda hoped the sorta sequel would make them a more loving couple. One that didn’t spend ample time in the movie talking about the way they imagined the other one dying.

But they’re not a more loving couple, not at all. While I guess their relationship’s probably realistic for many married couples with children, it’s not exactly fun to watch it unfold on the screen. Because if this is a realistic marriage for middle-aged people, I want no part of it. I’ll marry and divorce before I hit 30 if that’s what I have to do.

Not yet convinced that you’ll leave this movie on the verge of tears? Wait until you see how the kids (Maude Apatow and Iris Apatow) react to their parents constant fighting. Sure Maude Apatow does a phenomenal job playing the angsty Sadie, but it still makes me sad to watch how her parents fighting forces her to act out throughout the entire movie.

On top of portraying an unhappily married couple, the movie just stressed me out. I’m the most thrifty (cheap) person alive. Pete is not. Therefore secret money problems are a big part of the film. If you’re the kind of person who gets angina when you watch your “broke” friend splurge on a new outfit after claiming she can’t pay her rent that month, this movie will give you a heart attack. So prepare for that.

Before you freak out about Pete and Debbie divorcing, know that their marriage turns out to be strong enough to make it. But just barely. You’ll leave completely unsure if they’re going to really work it out, especially considering that the entire movie consisted of them being on an emotional roller coaster of loving and hating each other. Once again, if this is marriage, count me out.

And to add confusion to your depression, I’m now left wondering if this is an accurate portrayal of Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann’s marriage. I obviously hope not, but Judd Apatow did write it and people do write from what they know. So, ugh. There goes my love and affection for another Hollywood family that I thought was above the usual dysfunction.

In grand conclusion, go see this movie. It is funny. Just don’t expect to leave feeling good about commitment, marriage, love and basically anything you’ve ever believed about making a relationship work.

(Photo: NPR)

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  • b3v

    “It’s classic Family Stone territory” YES. Family Stone, Georgia Rules and Perks of Being a Wallflower… I didn’t read reviews, so I was entirely NOT prepared. At least I’ll know about This is 40!!

    • Jenni

      Yes to Perks as well! I did not see all that horribleness coming.

  • Sad

    Maybe you should say something at the beginning of the post about this having spoilers in it. I really did not want to know how their marriage ended up. I’ve been looking forward to this movie for months, it isn’t even out yet, and you just spoiled the end.

    • Jenni

      Trust me, you’ll enjoy the movie a lot more knowing how their marriage ends up. it gives you something to look forward to in all the fighting.

    • Kb

      you could have stopped reading when it became blatantly obvious there would be spoilers? I reached that conclusion at around the end of the 2nd paragraph..