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'This Is 40': A mixed bag, but a fun one (+trailer)

'This Is 40' features the return of supporting characters from director Judd Apatow's film 'Knocked Up.'

By Peter RainerFilm critic / December 21, 2012

Paul Rudd (third from right) and Leslie Mann (r.) star in 'This Is 40.'

Suzanne Hanover/Universal Pictures/AP

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Judd Apatow’s “This Is 40” is only his fourth film as a writer-director, but his comedy influence is so ubiquitous that it seems as if he’s been around forever. His latest entry is his usual mixed bag, but some of the goodies inside the bag are worth checking out. Paul Rudd’s Pete and Leslie Mann’s Debbie are both turning 40 – though she tells others she’s 38 – and Apatow scrolls through a checklist of midlife crises. (Mann, by the way, is Apatow’s wife, and he also co-stars his two daughters.)

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Everything gets chucked into the joke mill: sex, jobs and kids – their two daughters, 8-year-old Charlotte (Iris Apatow) and tantrum-throwing 13-year-old Sadie (Maude Apatow). The performers are so likable that you stay with them even when, as is often the case, the material is hit-or-miss. Albert Brooks, as Pete’s moocher father, is best; Sadie’s upper-crust dad is well played John Lithgow. Having made this film as well as his debut, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” maybe Apatow can cool it about the age stuff until everybody hits 50? Grade: B- (Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language and some drug material.)

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