‘This is 40’ offers a glimpse into middle class middle age

This is 40Take a middle-aged couple, throw in two combative daughters, a troubled business, a mooch father and you’ve got Judd Apatow’s This is 40, which is relatable and funny.

Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debby (Leslie Mann) who we met inĀ  Knocked Up are turning 40, and just like they were the first time around, their relationship isn’t the smoothest. The movie sees them go through a tumultuous time (see above) and unlike most movies, it’s more of a window into the life.

While not my favourite Apatow movie, it has its bright spots like painting a realistic image of what people go through while trying to manage a family, careers and life in general. I have a few more years before I fully understand what they’re going through, but certain aspects, like the back-and-forth between Pete and Debby, or their relationships with their parents are stuff people of any age deal with.

There’s a solid supporting cast featuring Albert Brooks, Jason Segel, Chris O’Dowd and even Megan Fox. The most memorable for me, however, was by Melissa McCarthy as a parent of one of the students at Pete and Debby’s daughter Sadie’s (Maude Apatow) school. Her fiery arguments with Pete, then later with both parents in the Principal’s office were hi-larious. They even made it to the credits, which were made funnier when they showed Mann and Rudd trying to hold in their laughter as she goes on her rant.

I like Leslie Mann, even though she’s in everything Judd Apatow does. She’s funny, but one thing I found this time around is her whining schtick was a bit much, and I don’t see how she’s nominated for a Golden Globe. Her whining was was only outshone by her daughter Maude – I guess it runs in the family?

Overall I found the movie enjoyable and funny, but as mentioned, the constant complaining and whining gets a bit overdone at times. While I knew it wouldn’t be a straight up comedy, I’ll admit it made me stressed out toward the end which I appreciate because it’s always a bonus when a movie, let alone a Judd Apatow movie, hits you like that, but after a while it felt like force fed anxiety from the family’s issues. I give This is 40 a 3/5.

Our Idiot Brother doesn’t hit you over the head for laughs

Our Idiot Brother

Paul Rudd is usually a hit, and is always a draw for the fiancee, so Our Idiot Brother was a movie we had to check out.

The movie is about Ned (Paul Rudd), a bit of a hippie who has a very honest and optimistic look at life. After some things don’t go his way after an unfortunate sale to a police officer and breakup with his girlfriend, he’s still happy, but left to his own devices with no real marketable skills. While he tries to get back on his feet, he bounces between his three sisters’ places, where his simple but genuinely well meaning ways of helping them deal with their issues end up causing more trouble than good.

If you’re looking for a comedy that has a solid storyline and isn’t one that hits you over the head with jokes, then this is a good choice. His sisters, played by Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks and Emily Mortimer deliver great performances. One is sex-crazed and can’t keep a steady relationship, another is a journalist trying to get ahead in her career at any cost, and finally there’s the housewife who’s neglected by her husband and is essentially lifeless. They’re caught up in the stresses of their unhappiness, and their loved but burden of a brother tramples through their lives, turning each one’s upside down. While they all love each other, they’re very much a dysfunctional family who aren’t open with one another and it’s caused their relationships to suffer. Ned is the “idiot brother” who comes in and fixes it without even knowing what he did, kind of like Forrest Gump in a way.

Our Idiot Brother won’t stick with you like some movies but it’s an enjoyable movie to watch while you stay in on a weekend. I give it a 3/5.

A double review! The Other Guys and Dinner for Schmucks

On the weekend I went out with the girlfriend to check out a couple comedies: The Other Guys, starring Will Ferrell and Mark(y Mark) Wahlberg, and Dinner for Schmucks with Paul Rudd and Steve Carell.

First up let’s get to reviewing The Other Guys:

The movie starts off a bang: The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson in a hardcore police chase. There’s explosions, car flips, double-decker bus driving; pretty much everything you could ask for in a car chase. The reason why they were chasing them was pretty funny and a good commentary on American enforcement, but I won’t spoil it.

Soon after that we’re introduced to Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg). Allen’s a mild-mannered (on the surface) financial accountant who’s working with Terry, a former rising star in the police force, until he did something so unbelievably unforgivable to New Yorkers; now he’s riding a desk job working with Allen, and doesn’t like it one bit.

The movie see’s the two guys take on a case (reluctantly for Allen), that has them in much bigger trouble than they originally thought. With Allen’s calm, safe style, and Terry’s in your face attitude (he’s literally angry 90% of the time) it makes for a great comedy. While I was laughing the whole time, the comedy seemed to take preference to the dialogue/story line at times, which made parts feel disjointed.

I give The Other Guys a 4/5.

Next up.. Dinner for Schmucks:

During the opening credits we’re introduced to a really cool scene of dead mice modeled to look like humans, spending a day in the park. Steve Carell’s character, Barry’s favourite hobby is taxidermy; specifically taxidermy of mice. As creepy as that sounds, some of the models are pretty cool looking.

Anyway, the movie moves on to Paul Rudd’s character, Tim, watching a co-worker who just got fired getting in his car. Then begins his quest to take his spot among the elite at the company. In a meeting Tim brings up an idea that causes the CEO Lance Fender (Bruce Greenwood) invite him to the newly vacant office. Here he’s invited to this dinner where he has to bring an idiot with a creative talent. All the other guests will be doing the same, and they’ll proceed to make fun of these people. This set the premise for the movie, and immediately my interest dropped. It seemed like the dumbest idea and was so out of place, for some reason.

After leaving, Tim runs into Barry, who we meet for the first time. After a bit of discussion, Tim realizes he’s found his dinner guest. Barry’s a really nice guy, who’s just a tad eccentric, and ends up not leaving Tim alone, after he was invited to the dinner.

With Barry in his life, Tim starts to see more trouble pop up. Barry’s just trying to be helpful but ends up causing strife for Barry, like his girlfriend Julie leaving him (for an artists named Kieran, played by Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame and probably the highlight of the movie). He also put Tim in danger by causing a potential important client to not like him. In the end though Barry starts to grow on Tim and he begins to see the err of his ways.

While the movie has a bunch of funny moments, it just wasn’t my thing. I think the setup for the dinner really threw me off. Steve Carell fans might like this.. he’s basically a super eccentric Michael Scott from The Office. I’m a fan of Paul Rudd’s straight man style, but this didn’t really seem like the best role for him.

I give Dinner for Schmucks a 2.5/5.

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