New Jack City: ‘This Is 40’—What’s Happening to the ‘FUNNY’ Movies?

this-is-401As a reviewer and observer of the movie scene in general I hate it when someone tells me how disappointed they were with a new movie they just saw at their multiplex…

That shouldn’t happen.

It’s bad for the viewers who dropped 10 bucks on a ticket and were left with a bad taste in their mouths. And it reflects poorly on the industry in general.

Case in point, Universal’s :”THIS IS 40″ starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann.

During the past few days several people have expressed their dislike of the movie. They went to the theater expecting to see the rip-roaring sequel to Judd Apatow’s 2007 comedy hit KNOCKED UP.

What they got instead was over two hours of mid-life crisis with more focus on dramatics than comedy.

They felt ripped off.

THIS IS 40 is a spin-off from the popular original with Rudd and Mann reprising their roles as a husband and wife approaching a milestone meltdown. An unfilitered, and yes comedic look inside the life of an American family. (Shades of AMERICAN BEAUTY? On second thought, not really.)

Call it, sort of a sequel. Like when the more serious Lou Grant series was spun off the hilarious Mary Tyler Moore Show in the late 70’s. I recall people criticising Ed Asner‘s more dramatic shift of character back then.

a fox So what’s REALLY wrong with THIS IS 40?

Nothing really. Leslie Mann’s annoying Debbie character and Rudd’s man-child portrayal as Pete really takes this miserable married couple story to the next level.

It really all comes down to the marketing of the film.

A friend’s Facebook posting complains that he thought the movie was supposed to be a comedy. And the countless TV spots sure give that impression.

But let’s get real; it’s all in the content and editing of the commercials.

Check USA TODAY’s assessment of the movie: “Expectations are high. Instead the comedy in this rambling semi-autobiographical account is uneven….it’s just too bad the movie’s trajectory is formless and jokes built around petty marital resentment sometimes fall flat.”

SLATE says: “…at its worst, THIS IS 40 feels like being condemned to watch two hours of someone else’s home movies—overly long, self-indulgent and bone crushingly banal.”

The STAR’s review is topped by the header “THIS IS FUNNY” with reviewer Jon Niccum gushing: “It delivers the most laughs of any comedy this year.”

Sorry, but I apparently didn’t see the same movie.

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One Response to New Jack City: ‘This Is 40’—What’s Happening to the ‘FUNNY’ Movies?

  1. balbonis moleskine says:

    in the immortal words of the esteemed Kelso, “BURN!”

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