I loved Knocked Up, a movie that put Seth Rogan and Katherine Heigl on the map. What a fun movie that established a relatively believable base reality. So I was thrilled to finally watch the tangential sequel, This is 40, starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters from Knocked Up, also written and directed by Judd Apatow. What a very different viewing experience!
Guys, there’s a lot to love, but the most fun part of the whole movie is that Judd Apatow, a rich man who has a bunch of rich Hollywood friends, wrote a movie about people with absolutely obscene money problems. A quick calculation puts them around one hundred thousand dollars in debt with two failing small businesses, a huge house on which they can’t make mortgage payments, and a baby on the way. All of these issues make the movie so fun because they are never seriously addressed and the movie ends [SPOILERS] with the two of them confidently believing that it will all work out for the best!
I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a comedy or because Apatow can’t imagine what money troubles would feel like, but the movie doesn’t let itself get bogged down in the fact that these two people are totally, insanely fucked. Like, in real life, Paul Rudd’s awful, constantly-pooping, man-child character would have to get a second job to support the family. They would have to actually go through with selling the house. Leslie Mann would have to fire both her employees and work there open to close. It would be so boring because in reality, people with crippling debt and no prospects would be panicking and budgeting and not going to nice resorts and throwing elaborate parties at their house unless they were ultimately going to end up filing Chapter Eleven. Instead, they focus on having more sex and being more forgiving of each other. So much more rewarding for an audience!
Two refreshing cameos round out this incredible film, in order of relevance to the plot: a subliminal corporate sponsorship from Sprinkles Cupcakes, and Billy Joe from Green Day. Melissa McCarthy is also in the film, but her character is so interesting and well written, I assume she just wandered on set thinking she was filming some other movie and the editors just decided to keep it in. “The longer the movie, the more seriously people will take it!”, they must have all said to each other in a congratulatory way!
It’s nice to see someone in a position of privilege and power in the entertainment industry shit all over the idea of monetary problems without ever giving them any weight and it’s really cool to see a movie talk about serious issues in a really irresponsible way. I hope that people who are actually struggling with these things really enjoyed this whimsical take on those issues and that if there’s ever a violent uprising in America against the one percent that the first place the we go to is Judd Apatow’s house to thank him for his great work!
Below is a list of all the unresolved plots in This is 40. Which one is your favorite?
- Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd are husband and wife who don’t have enough sex.
- Their kids fight.
- One is a teen coming of age.
- Leslie Mann’s dad is an absentee father. They have issues.
- Leslie Mann’s dad has teen kids.
- Paul Rudd’s dad is a mooch. He has triplet toddlers. Everyone has issues.
- No one wants the triplet toddlers.
- Leslie Mann’s trainer wants to fuck her. (Jason Segal, giving a great performance.)
- Leslie Mann’s store is missing $12,000. She tries to figure out who took it.
- Paul Rudd’s record business is failing. He’s trying to fix it.
- Paul Rudd hasn’t disclosed any money problems to his wife ($80,000 loaned to his dad, a missed mortgage payment, failing record business).
- Paul Rudd secretly puts their house on the market.
- Megan Fox is a retail worker who is also a highly paid escort.
- Leslie Mann’s sister, played by Katherine Heigle in the much better Apatow movie, Knocked Up does not exist nor does her boyfriend, Seth Rogan, or their baby, infant from the movie Knocked Up.
- Paul Rudd hates his whole family, but likes his dad who is a piece of shit.
- Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd both threaten a teen at their daughter’s school.
- Leslie Mann gets unnecessarily pregnant halfway through the movie.
- Their money manager is the main provider of exposition.
- Subplot : Paul Rudd is always farting or pooping. Always.
- Second subplot: They don’t know any normal people! Every single character is a zany [gynecologist, sexless friend, coworker/pill addict/lothario/uptight principal, man you get in a car accident with, etc.].
- There is marijuana use in the movie, to no end.
- Paul Rudd exposes himself to more than one room service person.