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"THIS IS 40" (R)
PAUL RUDD, LESLIE MANN, JASON SEGEL, MEGAN FOX
The amazing thing about this movie, which has its share of funny and telling moments, is that you will end up caring for this family by film's end, despite the fact that they're so hard to relate to.
This film is long and full of whining and potty-mouth humor from people who live a life that's pretty darned plush. But it could be worse.
Credit director/writer Judd Apatow for any sympathy you might feel for Pete and Debbie--a couple on the periphery in the director's earlier (and better) "Knocked Up."
The focus here--one that gets beaten into your head over the film's bloated two hours and 14 minutes--is that it's too darned easy to let what you care about in life get away from you.
All this bubbles up in ways both serious and funny thanks to the husband and wife both turning 40.
So, oh gee, Pete and Debbie might have to sell their million-dollar house in L.A. because his goofy record label and her high-end dress shop aren't doing so well.
Never mind the fact that they have enough money to hire a caterer for Pete's birthday party and lend his Dad 80 grand.
That the film has any appeal at all is a credit to leads Paul Rudd and Leslie (Mrs. Apatow) Mann, who are best when things are funny.
When they try to seriously address emotional issues, they really don't. Instead, they just whine or psycho-babble about owning joy and letting go of hurt and blah, blah, blah.
Apatow is part of a school of comedy that thinks whenever you can't be creative to get a laugh, you just pencil in the F-word or refer to the male anatomy.
Still, despite all the shortcomings, there's enough here to warrant a look.
Younger audiences will like it more than older ones but understand less of the serious stuff about aging.
Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language, drug material. 134 min. [MC, RA, RF]
"THE GUILT TRIP" (PG-13)
BARBRA STREISAND, SETH ROGEN, KATHY NAJIMY
This tale of a mother and son taking a cross-country trip is more sweet than funny, a fact that's both its strength and its weakness.
HOW WE RATE 'EM
H Don't waste your time.
HH Nothing special
HHHH A must-see