Title: This is 40
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel, Megan Fox
Genre: Comedy (supposedly)
My rating: 2/5
Pete and Debbie are turning forty. But instead of celebrating, they're mired in a mid-life crisis with unruly kids, debt and unhappiness mounding. Pete's record label is failing and Debbie is unable to come to terms with her aging body. As Pete's fortieth birthday party arrives, Pete and Debbie are going to have to rely on family, friends, employees, fitness trainers, aging rockers and ultimately each other to come to terms with life at age forty.
Full cast here.
Deep breath. Relax. Gathering thoughts. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it pushed all the wrong buttons with me.
OK, so you’ve read the summary and have an idea what the movie is about, right? This is going to be more of a rant than an actual review, because there might be a few discussion points in here, so unfortunately I need to include spoilers to make my point. You’ve been warned.
Right, so, this disaster of a husband and his overbearing wife turn forty the same week. Her birthday is a couple of days before his, but she doesn’t want a birthday party because she refuses to admit to her husband, her estranged father, her doctors, and pretty much everyone else that she has reached the dreaded forty. (Do you remember when you dreaded turning thirty)? Anyway, so she has this major mid-life crisis freak-out, and takes it out on her husband who, so by the way, turns out to be the biggest loser that side of the equator. Refusing to admit her age and make peace with the fact that she’s forty, made Debbie an incredibly annoying character. I know. Women don’t like to admit their age, but instead of it being something to laugh about in this movie because female viewers will be able to identify with this sentiment, it was over the top, done so many times, and eventually lost the humor element.
Enough about Debbie, though. She was annoying, but Pete! Oh. My. Gosh. This is where it becomes a sort of a rant. It turns out Pete got his family into some bad debt due to terrible decisions on his part. He quit he’s well-paying job at Sony to start up his own record label because he wants to sign-up the bands he is interested in, and not the ones Sony wants to sign up. He missed a mortgage payment on their house, and he loans his jobless loser father who already owes him $80 000 and who has three little children he didn’t want in the first place with a younger woman, more money. When Debbie asked him whether he still loans his dad money, he lies to her. Even knowing they’re in way over their heads financially, Pete signs a band, who isn’t making him any profit, to his label simply because HE likes their music. No-one else seems to like their music. But he does. His wife and employees warn him that it’s not a good idea to invest in this band that isn’t selling any records, but he refuses to listen. Eventually Debbie finds out that she’s pregnant (Pete makes it clear - without knowing he’s wife’s pregnant - that he doesn’t want any more children), and she also finds out that Pete has withheld the truth from her about their financial situation. So she confronts him, and guess what his reaction is? It’s not his fault. He finds everything else to blame on her, but won’t accept responsibility for his actions.
So. Freaking. Mature.
It gets worse. At his fortieth birthday party, Debbie tells her father-in-law that they will no longer be lending him any money (which he isn’t paying back anyway). He tries to put her on a guilt trip about family helping family, when in fact he is only sponging off them. What does Pete do during this confrontation? One, he sides with his father against his wife, and two, when she speaks out about it, he gets on his BICYCLE and angrily speeds off, away from his party, leaving all their guests behind.
Give me a freaking break.
I mean, DUDE! You’re FORTY!! Why behave like a bloody child?! If I was there I would’ve slapped some sense into him, I swear. Luckily, he crashes into an opening car door and the driver of the vehicle beats him up. Nice.
The ending? Terrible! After the driver beats Pete up, Debbie finds him lying in the road and takes him to hospital. What do they then do? Koochy koo, kiss and make up. Yep. None of their issues were discussed, or resolved, or anything. What was the point of this movie? Two people freaking out about turning forty when clearly everything they argued about were issues that have been brewing over a period of time? Or are they just going to overlook these problems, keep giving money they don’t have to father-in-law to support his family, and stay together for the sake of baby number three when they evidently can’t stand each other? Whatever.
Oh, and let me not forget to add that their teenage daughter is a drama queen of epic proportions. Plus, I’ve never seen such bad drama-queen acting in my life.
You know which book this move made me think of? Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. It doesn’t have the same story, obviously, but it has the same weak husband blaming his imperfect wife for the things that are his fault alone. I didn’t like either of the two main characters in Gone Girl, but I liked Nick, the husband, even less than I did Amy. In my opinion, Nick deserved what he got. In this movie, I waited for the husband to cheat on his wife, towing the classic line: she doesn’t understand me. It didn’t happen, but we all know that’s usually the next step for men who screw-up their marriages and relationships.
On the plus side, the movie does have a few good things going for it. The one silver lining is John Lithgow playing Debbie’s estranged father. He is an amazing and versatile actor and even though he only had a small role in this movie, I would watch anything with him in it. Remember him as the alien leader in Third Rock from the Sun?
And the psychopath in Dexter, season four?
He’s brilliant! The second thing I liked about this movie was the little sister. She’s so sweet and adorable, I just wanted to hug the daylights out of her! Seriously, it’s a pity she had to grow up in such a messed-up family. Other elements I think would make this movie relatable to men and women are the marriage problems and arguments this couple has. The reactions are pretty normal (well, not all of it) and gives the movie a realistic feel. You’ll undoubtedly see something in the way this couple behaves that might make you point and say to your partner: that’s so you! I liked how they teamed up to take on the bully and the bully’s mom (who, coincidentally, is also a bully) at their teenage daughter’s school.
Spoilers and all, there you have my take on this movie. I was morbidly fascinated by this family, and couldn’t get myself to stop watching. Still, I wasn’t impressed and the ending, in my opinion, did it in. Feel free to share your opinions on screwball husbands and imperfect wives who won’t admit their age and don’t think it’s a good idea to tell their husbands they’re pregnant.
You can watch the movie trailer here.
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