'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.'

Suzanne Hanover/Universal Pictures/AP
Paul Rudd (third from right) and Leslie Mann (r.) star in 'This Is 40.'

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.)

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.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.