Heavy around the waist

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

This is 40 Star­ring Paul Rudd, Les­lie Mann, Maude Apa­tow, Iris Apa­tow, Ja­son Segel, Me­gan Fox, Char­lyne Ye, Al­bert Brooks, John Lith­gow. Writ­ten and di­rected by Judd Apa­tow. 134 min­utes, R16 (sex scenes, drug use, of­fen­sive lan­guage). Show­ing at Read­ing Cinemas Porirua. It proved to be a magic num­ber for film-maker Judd Apa­tow’s age­ing vir­gin, but ‘‘40’’ loses its lus­tre in the guise of mar­ried cou­ple Deb­bie and Pete.

You may re­mem­ber them from Knocked Up, Deb­bie, the up­tight big sis­ter of Kather­ine Heigl’s char­ac­ter, and Pete, her down­trod­den, sar­cas­tic spouse.

You may also re­call Knocked Up as the last time Apa­tow really brought the funny – and the last time Heigl ap­peared in any­thing watch­able.

The idio­syn­cratic film- maker with a pen­chant for min­ing hu­mour from hon­esty, overindulged in the bloated, mis­guided but spo­rad­i­cally hi­lar­i­ous Funny Peo­ple. Un­for­tu­nately This is 40 is guilty of many of the same foibles.

The big 4-0 is ap­proach­ing for both Deb­bie (Les­lie Mann) and Pete (Paul Rudd) and some­thing has got to give. Both have their hang-ups, se­crets and fears that their life and their love isn’t what it should be.

Their two daugh­ters have drained them of en­ergy and inde-

Mod­ern Fam­ily. pen­dence, ro­mance has given way to fart­ing in bed, and each of their bad habits drives the other crazy.

Re­fresh­ingly, the pic­ture doesn’t take the usual track of a ma­jor bust-up fol­lowed by in­evitable, em­phatic re­con­nec­tion.

There is no in­fi­delity or, worse, com­i­cal mis­un­der­stand­ing that drives a wedge be­tween Pete and Deb­bie.

Their re­la­tion­ship ebbs and flows in a messy tan­gle of daily frus­tra­tions and ado­ra­tion.

Life will never be per­fect, but they never seem doomed.

Apa­tow has a gift for find­ing com­edy in real life hu­man be­hav­iour and This is 40 will have sea­soned cou­ples cack­ling in their seats at those ‘‘ you do that!’’ ob­ser­va­tions.

I can’t fault the per­for­mances of the leads – the of­ten-an­noy­ing Mann in­cluded – but this mid­dleaged love story is car­ry­ing a lot of flab.

The movie is at least 20 min­utes longer than it need be, with too many di­ver­sions into half-baked story-threads.

Did we really need to meet all of Pete and Deb­bie’s em­ploy­ees? How about the five- minute med­i­cal-check mon­tage – all for the gag of hav­ing doc­tors stick their fin­gers in un­com­fort­able places. Yawn.

Sim­ply, too many characters ex­ist solely to de­liver their one golden moment of repar­tee or im­prov.

Iron­i­cally, it was th­ese sort of traits that made Knocked Up and The 40 Year Old Vir­gin so won­der­ful and wor­thy of re­peated view­ing.

For Pete and Deb­bie, the path to ten­der­ness and un­der­stand­ing is more me­an­der­ing.

There is a bit­ter-sweet, sin­cere and funny story here, but it gets lost among the sprawl.

Hello lover: Paul Rudd and Les­lie Mann en­ter­tain as a neu­rotic cou­ple try­ing to keep the spark of their re­la­tion­ship alive, but Judd Apa­tow’s scat­ter­shot This is 40 is no more re­ward­ing than an av­er­age episode of

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