starring Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, John Lithgow, Albert Brooks
written and directed by Judd Apatow
by Walter Chaw It's scattershot, and sloppy, but any movie about fortysomethings dealing with familial, financial, sexual, and physical issues that ends with Ryan Adams performing "Lucky One" in a little club is a movie I will like. And I do: Judd Apatow's This is 40 isn't good, exactly, but it listens and it has a sense of humour, as well as a certain optimism about it. I bristle at Apatow's desire in his other films to impose a traditionally moral conclusion on all the atrocity that's preceded it, but in a "spin-off" of Knocked Up, about people exactly my age in roughly my situation discovering they're the grown-ups for some reason and through no fault of their own, that desire for a hopeful conclusion is extremely compelling. This is 40 is one of those works that gets you at the right time, I think. I've often wondered if the reason I've never liked Tolkien is that I didn't read him when I was 12. I wish I had. For what it's worth, I'm glad I saw This is 40 in these last six months before my own fortieth birthday. It's my Twilight. I know it's terrible--flabby, obviously tinkered with 'til the last minute (the commercials for the film are about 90% cut footage), and packed with digressions that distract rather than edify (a bit with Charlyne Yi is a particular lowlight), but it speaks to me, and when Apatow's right, I realize, he's spot on.