Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Judd Apatow's Leslie Mann) and their two daughters, eight-year-old Charlotte (Iris Apatow) and 13-year-old Sadie (Maude Apatow) live in fashionable, affluent Brentwood in fashionable Los Angeles.
Both Pete and Debbie are turning 40--though she refuses to accept she's getting older. His record label and her boutique are both tanking, they have financial troubles (as much as those with Beemers can) and their sex life went south long ago. Their daughters fight with each other and the older girl rolls her eyes at her parents and their silly rules. It's a typical family--a white, privileged, affluent family, complete with Pete's mooching dad and Debbie's estranged father.
Here's what the critics are saying:
‘This is 40’ isn’t great, but it is likable, and so is most everyone who’s in it: Rudd, Mann, Brooks, Robert Smigel as Pete’s married buddy, and Melissa McCarthy as the testy mother of Sadie’s crush. The cast gets an A+, even if their material just sneaks by with a passing grade. That might be generous in a few cases; the couple’s money woes, most awkwardly typified by Paul Rudd moping in his BMW, feel laughably out of touch with real economic desperation, and their marital issues are completely devoid of tension (it’s not like Apatow’s going to make a movie about his own life with his real family and then write a household-shattering divorce). The only thing Apatow really communicates with absolute clarity is his desire to speak honestly. Sincerity trumps insight. Hopefully the next step on his journey will be even more interesting. Matt Singer, Screen Crush
At an overlong 134 minutes, though, the movie increasingly seems like a parade of White People’s Problems... “This Is 40” is smart about the things that stall marriages — the way we retreat to corners, nurse grudges, forget how we got here in the first place — but it’s blind to any notion that a larger world or other sorts of people might exist. That may be a more accurate reflection of its maker’s outlook than he realizes. I hate to say it, but if Judd Apatow wants to be a seriously funny filmmaker, he may have to leave home. Ty Burr, Boston.com
You are brought into a state of intimacy, of complicity, with characters you may find it difficult to like but who, at the same time, require constant affirmation of their goodness. And they are good, or at least good enough. So is the movie. It snuggles up next to you, breathes in your face, dribbles crumbs on your shirt and laughs at its own jokes. Such proximity makes it easy to notice flaws, and there are a lot of loose ends and a few forced conclusions. But, then again, the acceptance of imperfection is Mr. Apatow’s theme, so a degree of sloppiness is to be expected. That’s life. A.O. Scott, the New York Times
The movie lacks any urgency—there’s no way Pete and Debbie will ever break up. They fret about not liking other, but there’s never any question that they do; they just like bickering nearly as much as they like each other. We never see a real fight, an ugly, knock-down, drag out marital blow-up. We see artificial, snappy battles that might call to mind the screwball comedies of the ’30s and ’40s, if they weren’t so resolutely cute in a 21st century, self-absorbed kind of way. Pete and Debbie, but particularly Debbie, are so busy adroitly commenting on their own responses and emotions that none of their responses and emotions feel genuine. Mary Pols, Time