So we’re going to make a Judd Apatow movie. Let’s assemble the elements:
1. Heterosexual couple in their thirties or forties.
2. Life changing event.
3. Male partner of the couple has a quirky passion or interest.
4. Male partner also has immature/crazy best friend(s).
5. “Edgy” pot references.
6. Revelatory happy ending.
Done! And it’s SO EASY, TOO!
In addition to the by-the-numbers approach always taken by Apatow (he should really write an Apatow “how to” screenplay book), frequent star Paul Rudd plays the EXACT SAME CHARACTER EVERY TIME. It’s almost impossible to believe that Rudd is one of the top comedians in films today given that, as an actor, he has approximate range of Hayden Christensen on Ritalin. He’s likeable, of course, but his main quality as an actor is his generic “everyman” quality. Rudd stretched the farthest in Anchorman, but most of that had to do with his outfits.
Their latest attempt at formula replication is This Is 40, a semi-sequel to Apatow’s breakthrough hit Knocked Up. The new film follows the mid-life crises of Knocked Up‘s secondary characters Pete and Debbie (played, of course, by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann) as they struggle to accept growing older together. Awww, sounds like the perfect date-movie $40 million opening weekend grosser! Let’s pop the champagne on our yachts, boys!!
Here is the new trailer, purposely-designed to tickle the yeasty, gray-haired genitals of Generation X.
Oh, listen everybody! It’s the George Harrison hit “What Is Life” from 1971! Remember that?!?
I REALLY despise that “This isn’t just their story … this is EVERYBODY’S story” tagline at the end. GROSS. I feel like I need a shot of insulin, and I’m not diabetic.
I think Apatow writes some clever dialogue, and he’s a solid director. I just wish he’d stop following the same formula with such cynical, money-grubbing obviousness. He’s basically creating a bunch of date movies that recycle the same motifs and make a lot of money. Stretch, Judd … STRETCH!!