2 Stars Movies

This is 40 was made by comedians, for comedians

Because you demanded it: a sequel to Knocked Up! Oh wait, you didn’t? Neither did I.

Even as an admitted “dramedy”, Judd Apatow’s This is 40 is a major bummer. Laugh and cry as you watch a couple deal with the same problems ordinary people can relate to: what to do with their rewarding jobs, giant house, and Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s uncommonly good looks.

This is 40 falls squarely into a certain subgenre of movie comedy made by comedians for comedians, forgetting that ordinary civilians might be in the audience. You could call it the “Yes, and…” genre, after the standup tenet of never cockblocking to your improv partner’s volley with a “No, actually…”

You know how many comedies append outtakes to the end credits (or DVD bonus features), as a kind of easter egg? One key giveaway of the “Yes, and…” comedy is that these discourses are actually left in the movie. This is 40 then serves up even more after the end, in the form of one extended improvisation in which Melissa McCarthy cracks up everyone else on the set, while remaining strictly in character.

Those of us who don’t take evening improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade will find this scene something of an indulgence, especially after 134 minutes of loosely strung-together improv bits in the supposedly narrative portion of the film.

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