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>> IT'S ALWAYS FUNNY TO SEE HOW RICH, SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DEAL WITH ENNUI

December 27, 2012 12:10 am

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I know it looks ridiculous, but I can fit three challah rolls under this helmet. Don't judge. I've got servants to feed.

"THIS IS 40" (R)

HH

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.

Tough life.

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)

HH

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.

This movie is going to be more appealing to Barbra Streisand fans than those of Seth Rogen, largely because the latter reins in his bawdy comedy and Streisand mines the mother-love that this film is all about.

Rogen plays an inventor about to embark on a long trip to market a remarkable cleaning liquid he's developed.

At the last minute--for a unique reason--he invites his mother along for the trip, partly as a way to reconnect after college and a job relocation that have kept them apart.

She's a nag and still treats him like he's 12, but the devotion and love she demonstrates eventually shine through, with a nice twist at the end of the film.

Rated PG-13 for language and some risque material. 96 min. [MC, RA, RF]

"JACK REACHER" (PG-13)

HH

TOM CRUISE, ROSAMUND PIKE, RICHARD JENKINS

Aside from the very unfortunate timing of this film--the opening scene is of a sniper targeting innocents, including a child--it's a pretty good tough-guy detective tale.

And for those who question whether the short Tom Cruise can pull off a book character that's supposed to be a 6-foot-5 bruiser?

He nails the performance, probably earning himself a new action role that will extend at least into the near future.

In the wake of the Connecticut tragedy, seeing folks cut down by a sniper rifle doesn't much feel like entertainment.

What follows--the effort to catch the guys who frame a disturbed sniper--is engrossing, with Cruise as good as he's been for a while. The striking Rosamund Pike comes into her own as the attorney allied with Cruise's Jack Reacher.

It might have been a good decision to delay this for a few months, despite what had been spent on ads.

Rated PG-13 for violence, language and some drug material. 130 min. [MC, PV, RA]




HOW WE RATE 'EM

H Don't waste your time.

HH Nothing special

HHH You'll be sorry if you miss it.

HHHH A must-see




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