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Crude language, humor rob Judd Apatow comedy 'This Is 40' of any charm

By Doug Wright

KSL RADIO

Published: Thursday, Dec. 20 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Maude Apatow, left, Iris Apatow, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann star in the Judd Apatow comedy "This Is 40".

Suzanne Hanover

"THIS IS 40" — ★★ — Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Albert Brooks, Melissa McCarthy, John Lithgow; R (sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language and some drug material); in general release

Judd Apatow.

One name, two words that should immediately let moviegoers know the general tone of a film.

I have to admit that several of his movies are guilty pleasures. Others, like his latest, "This is Forty," are so lewd, so laced with offensive language and so sexual that any charm, creativity and humor there get buried.

Leslie Mann, Apatow's real-life wife, and Paul Rudd step into the roles of Pete and Debbie, a couple facing their 40th birthdays. This milestone event prompts both to examine their lives and their relationship.

Apatow hits the mark when he has his characters dealing with the lack of romance in their lives, and the concerns about their kids and start-up businesses that aren't performing up to par.

An interesting twist to this film is the fact that both Pete and Debbie have real daddy issues. For Pete, his father, played by Albert Brooks, is a self-centered mooch who is constantly hitting his son up for money. For Debbie, her dad, played by John Lithgow, is a prominent surgeon and the two barely have a relationship at all. Both dads have remarried and have younger wives and very young kids.

It sounds like kind of an interesting plot, right? Problem is, the assault of bathroom humor, sexuality, uncomfortable moments with verbally out-of-control adults interacting with kids and the fact that Apatow has the offensive language in the stratosphere undermines everything.

Often, this writer/director will overcome excesses with incredibly clever situations, very human but endearing characters and tight, smart writing. Not here.

Paul Rudd was off the mark. Leslie Mann, usually sympathetic and lovable, is almost pathetic and certainly less lovable. Awkward performances are delivered by Lithgow and even Brooks, who I normally like a lot. Megan Fox is simply included for eye candy, and Jason Segel — well, I'm not quite sure what he was doing in the film.

Not exactly a glowing review. I was sorely disappointed by "This is 40."

"This Is 40" is rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language and some drug material; running time 131 minutes.

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