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This is 40 (DQ)


Stars: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Megan Fox, Albert Brooks, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Segel, John Lithgow, Charlyne Yi, Chris O'Dowd, Lena Dunham, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Tatum O'Neal, Graham Parker

Director: Judd Apatow

This typically overlong, but sometimes amusing Judd Apatow comedy-drama, taking up the story of the subsidiary couple from Knocked Up 13 years on, now bickering, love-hate marrieds with daughters of 13 and eight, shows familiar Apatow obsessions with penises, vaginas, bodily functions and generally outspoken dialogue, carefully fashioned to shock us and make us laugh at the same time.

And it's a family affair. Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann, still plays Debby, while their real-life daughters Maude and Iris are again seen as the kids.

Debby's fashion store is leaking money from a thieving employee - is it sexpot Megan Fox? - while Pete (Rudd)'s record business, too (long) dedicated to old-fashioned artists, is foundering. Debby is unaware that their house is at risk, but they shout and screech at each other all the time anyway, with their older daughter rapidly following suit.

These are dangerously aggressive people who somehow seem to get away with their rants - as when Debby rips into an aggrieved parent (McCarthy) whose son has dissed the older daughter on her Facebook page.

Still, the film, even if it seems to go on half the night, does enjoy some nuggets of wit and warmth - 'he's been crying a little bit,' a hospital nurse confides to Debby after Pete has been knocked off his bike, and punched by the motorist responsible - even if they're almost buried beneath the avalanche of four-letter words, leaving us uneasily in a halfway house between enjoyment and boredom.

Performances, however, are vivid, lively and generally spot-on, with Albert Brooks a stand-out as Pete's sponging dad. It would be nice to see Apatow try something new next time, but I guess that's not on the cards.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
134 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 10 Feb 2013