Monday, December 24, 2012

This Is 40

Tonight I saw This Is 40, starring Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd.

Debbie (Mann) and Pete (Rudd) are turning 40. Pete doesn't seem to mind it's happening to him, but Debbie has real trouble with it.

She begins to reflect on their family life (Mann's wonderful real-life children play their two daughters) and hopes to make positive changes before they get too old to enjoy one another.

Of course the more any of us try to plan our lives, the worse they turn out.

Pete is a cupcake-eating, secret-keeping, unwilling-to-face-reality loser who seems to care more about his record label than his marriage. Debbie is a judgmental, neurotic, worry wart who spies on her daughter's Facebook page and texts. The two only seem happy together when they escape for a weekend away and get high off marijuana cookies at a resort.

Though they try to make a 'deal' that they'll be better about kicking bad habits, and being nice to one another, all bets go out the window when the financial problems worsen and they begin calling their parents out on why they both turned out the way that they did.

I'm never a fan of films that justify adults blaming their parents for all of the problems in their grown-up lives, but luckily this film limits that rant to just a few scenes, so I can forgive it. It also shines a light on the lead couples' children calling their bluffs, so the absurdity is not lost on the audience.

The true-to-life dynamics between the children and the parents were some of the best points of the movie, even when it wasn't funny.

But mostly, it was funny.

I realize from my first few paragraphs, this film sounds heavy, but despite some isolated moments, it's really not. It's actually quite funny. And grown up, if you don't mind all the fighting.

Though I've not yet reached the dreaded age of 40, and don't have children of my own, I can relate to the fears about aging, and the frightening possibility that I may turn into a version of my parents.
Thankfully, this group of characters keeps it light enough to be enjoyable instead of haunting.


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