This Is 40 (2012)

by | Mar 14, 2024 | 2000s, Comedy, Film Reviews, Romance | 0 comments

Life at 40: A Humorous Journey Through Adulthood


Release date: 3 May 2013 (South Africa)
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Director: Judd Apatow
Cinematographer: Phedon Papamichael
Budget: $35 million USD
Box office: $88 million USD


“It’s like the Kardashians. I don’t understand how their world works.” – Debbie (played by Leslie Mann)


5 MIN Read Time



Welcome back to my film blog! Today, we’re delving into a humorous and relatable exploration of the challenges of middle-aged life with a review of a film that captures the essence of modern family dynamics and personal growth. Directed by Judd Apatow, this cinematic gem provides a candid glimpse into the lives of a couple navigating the trials and tribulations of turning 40. Join me as we explore the intricacies of relationships, parenthood, and self-discovery in “This Is 40.”


Storyline and Characters

“This Is 40” follows the lives of Pete and Debbie, a couple approaching their milestone 40th birthdays while grappling with the complexities of marriage, parenthood, and career pressures. Played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, Pete and Debbie navigate through a series of comedic and heartfelt moments that shed light on the challenges and joys of midlife. Apatow’s screenplay beautifully intertwines the struggles of maintaining passion in a long-term relationship with the humorous chaos of raising children and managing a business.

The supporting cast adds depth and humour to the storyline, with standout performances from Maude and Iris Apatow as Pete and Debbie’s daughters, Charlotte and Sadie. Additionally, the inclusion of memorable characters portrayed by Jason Segel, Megan Fox, and Albert Brooks enriches the narrative, offering diverse perspectives on the ups and downs of adulthood.


Humour and Wit

Apatow’s signature blend of humour and wit shines throughout the film, eliciting genuine laughter while also touching on poignant moments of reflection. The dialogue is sharp and relatable, capturing the absurdities of everyday life with authenticity and charm. From awkward family gatherings to candid discussions about intimacy, “This Is 40” finds humour in the mundane, inviting audiences to laugh along with the characters as they navigate through life’s unexpected twists and turns.

One of the film’s strengths lies in its ability to balance lighthearted comedy with deeper themes of self-discovery and personal growth. While the humour may be irreverent at times, it never detracts from the sincerity of the characters’ journeys, making for a genuinely entertaining and thought-provoking viewing experience.


Themes and Messages

At its core, “This Is 40” is a story about resilience, love, and the pursuit of happiness in the face of adversity. Through the trials and tribulations of Pete and Debbie’s relationship, the film explores universal themes of communication, forgiveness, and acceptance. As the characters confront their own insecurities and shortcomings, they ultimately learn the importance of embracing imperfection and finding joy in the small moments of life.

The film also delves into the challenges of balancing personal aspirations with familial responsibilities, highlighting the complexities of modern adulthood. Whether it’s navigating career setbacks or confronting midlife crises, Pete and Debbie’s journey reminds viewers that growth often comes from embracing change and facing challenges head-on.


Direction and Cinematography

Judd Apatow’s direction infuses “This Is 40” with a sense of authenticity and intimacy that resonates with audiences on a personal level. Through his adept storytelling and keen eye for detail, Apatow crafts a narrative that feels both familiar and enlightening, inviting viewers to see themselves reflected in the struggles and triumphs of the characters.

The cinematography captures the vibrancy of suburban life, juxtaposing idyllic scenes of family dinners with chaotic moments of domestic turmoil. The use of natural lighting and handheld camerawork adds to the film’s realism, creating an immersive viewing experience that draws viewers into the world of Pete and Debbie’s family.


Music and Soundtrack

The soundtrack of “This Is 40” serves as the perfect accompaniment to the film’s emotional beats, featuring an eclectic mix of classic rock, indie folk, and contemporary pop. From the infectious melodies of Graham Parker to the introspective lyrics of Fiona Apple, each song enhances the mood and atmosphere of the scenes, enriching the storytelling experience.

Music plays a significant role in shaping the characters’ identities and emotional journeys, with iconic tracks serving as the backdrop to pivotal moments of self-discovery and reflection. Whether it’s the nostalgia of revisiting favourite albums or the catharsis of singing along to a beloved tune, the soundtrack of “This Is 40” adds depth and resonance to the film’s narrative.


Impact and Legacy

Since its release in 2012, “This Is 40” has garnered a dedicated following of fans who appreciate its candid portrayal of middle-aged life and relatable humour. The film’s exploration of marriage, parenthood, and personal growth continues to resonate with audiences of all ages, offering a timeless reflection on the complexities of adulthood.

In addition to its cultural impact, “This Is 40” has also sparked meaningful conversations about the importance of communication, empathy, and self-acceptance in relationships. By shining a light on the messy realities of family life, the film encourages viewers to embrace their imperfections and find humour in life’s absurdities.



“This Is 40” is a heartfelt and humorous exploration of the joys and challenges of middle-aged life. With its relatable characters, sharp wit, and poignant themes, the film offers a refreshing take on the complexities of adulthood. While not without its flaws, “This Is 40” ultimately succeeds in delivering an entertaining and thought-provoking cinematic experience that will resonate with audiences for years to come. So grab some popcorn, gather your loved ones, and dive into the delightful chaos of “This Is 40.”


My Rating: 7½/10





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