Pete and Debbie are turning 40, so they decide they want to change the way they live their lives in order to live longer and happier, eating healthier, spending more times with their families and getting more involved with their children’s schoolwork but they soon realise that changing their lives brings its own set of problems.
Paul Rudd (Anchorman, Role Models, I Love You, Man)
Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin, 17 Again)
Maude Apatow (Knocked Up, Funny People)
Iris Apatow (Knocked Up, Funny People)
Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids, The IT Crowd, The Sapphires)
Written By and Directed By Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Funny People)
What Did I Think Of This Film?
I wouldn’t say my excitement was high for this one but I was looking forward to seeing it. I’d heard a few American friends say that it was quite good and I’ve enjoyed most of Apatow’s work up until now. I thought it’d be a bit like Knocked Up but probably with less drug and sex humour. I was partially right.
The biggest positive of this film is that it’s absolutely hilarious. The drug humour may have pretty much gone (there’s a few moments) but the sex humour is very much still there. In my opinion, it’s better than Knocked Up and only bettered by Pineapple Express from his body of work (although I’m not sure how much input he had on that). Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann work amazingly together, there’s a great chemistry between the two of them, I wouldn’t want Apatow to become one of those directors who casts his wife opposite the same love interest (Tim Burton take note) but I definitely wouldn’t be averse to seeing them line up together in another film. Rudd’s character is great, everything from playing the Pixies and Alice in Chains (which was awesome), to having loads of great rock album covers and artwork in his label office, just loads of little touches that I noticed that made me smile. The film was full of nice little references, there was a One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest one and a couple of Tom Petty ones. It’s nothing that makes any real difference to the film as it has no bearing on the story but it’s just something I love in films and it works easily in comedies as they’re often jokes, which was true for both of those references.
I honestly can’t really think of anything wrong with this film. The only thing I can even remotely think of is that Iris Apatow wasn’t great. But given she’s probably like 10 years old then I’m not going to even bother going into depth, I just think she’s too young but that’s obviously not her fault. I didn’t really dig the character of Jodi, played by Charlyne Yi, it just felt off. Not going to go into depth as it is a spoiler by definition, not that I think there’d be many who care about spoilers for a comedy.
The cast of this is really where it excels. As mentioned, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann really bring their A-game to this one. They’re both fantastic. What really surprised me is how far Maude Apatow has come along. I’ve seen her in Knocked Up and Funny People where she was alright, she didn’t have much to do in those two and was a lot younger but at the age of 14 she’s matured enough and put in a very good performance here. She has a couple of scenes where she plays the typical teenage girl amazingly. Most of the film is centred on the 4 family members but it’s got a great support cast. Jason Segel and Chris O’Dowd had a few scenes and were outstanding in them, I was laughing at everything they said. There were also good performances from John Lithgow and Albert Brooks as Debbie and Pete’s fathers, respectively. I’d like to throw credit for the musical cameos, Graham Parker and the Rumour was a nice wee addition but Billie Joe Armstrong turning up was great and his line was amazing, one of the best cameos of recent years that’s for sure. I’d be ashamed if I didn’t mention Megan Fox, she was pretty good. She delivered all her lines well and was pretty funny as well as, obviously, looking fantastic (which played a part, I’m not just mentioning it for the sake of mentioning it). I think she could’ve found her niche in the market.
As you may expect, there wasn’t too much of note on the production side. There was a lot of nice music which fit the scenes very well, including Iris Apatow playing the American Office theme tune on the keyboard, which is just another of those references I love to see. The inclusion of Lost was another of those little references, it had a slight connection to the story but nothing major, as a big fan it was to see it mentioned and their reactions were symptomatic of a lot of Lost fans. There was a good few lovely shots in the film, nothing groundbreaking but a few scenes had shots which needed to be just right and they nailed it.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. Although it’s 2013 now, obviously, its release year is 2012 and I think it’s got to rank up there with the best comedies of 2012, with Ted being the only film I can think of that was funnier. It’s got a fantastic cast who work well together to create some hilarious scenes. The humour is very sexual related and there’s a lot of swearing so avoid if either of those aren’t your thing but otherwise go and see this or rent/buy it if it’s available to you yet.
Stuart Ross – @forehead7 – 9/10