Friday, December 21, 2012

This is 40

Over the last seven years, Judd Apatow has become the king of comedy, and yet his name and his face are still unfamiliar to many.  He's the man behind the curtain, so to speak.  The Wizard of Ha's, if you will.  (Can I copyright that?)  Apatow wrote, produced, and directed 'The 40 Year Old Virgin', 'Knocked Up' and 'Funny People' and helped produce too many other well known R-rated comedies to name.  And long before that he had his hands in classic TV shows like 'The Ben Stiller Show', 'The Larry Sanders Show' and 'Freaks and Geeks'.  He's a comedy genius and if you ever get a chance to see him live, he is a riot at improv.

So I had high expectations for this sort-of sequel to 'Knocked Up'.  The 'sort-of' is used because it's really more of a spin-off than a sequel.  It focuses on the supporting characters from 'Knocked Up' played by Paul Rudd and Apatow's real life wife, Leslie Mann.  (It also features Apatow's real life kids as well.  It's a real family affair.)  And sure enough there's a lot to like here.  The comedy is strong and the cast is great, including Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Jason Segel, and Melissa McCarthy.  But it's quite long and, like 'Funny People', has more drama than I expected.  In 'Funny People' that blend worked extraordinarily well.  Here, it's kind of awkward at times.  It almost feels like this is two separate films.  Instead of having a typical three act structure, it felt like five, with a 2 hour and 14 minute run time.  I kind of wish Apatow stayed with just comedy for this one and trimmed it down a bit, but it's still a very enjoyable film and fans of Apatow, Rudd, and Mann won't be disappointed.

Grade: A-

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