Apparently dull jokes, a bloated running time and a lack of proper pacing can be somewhat remedied by a charmingly honest representation of a dysfunctional family.
Debbie (Leslie Mann) is turning 40 and she isn’t happy about it. The easy fix? Have your husband top your birthday cake with a 3 and an 8 candle, give your doctor a later birth year and call it a day. However, even with her age issue out of the way, Debbie is still plagued by a number of other predicaments. She’s afraid her relationship with her husband, Pete (Paul Rudd), is losing steam, her children are consumed by their iEverythings, Pete’s record label hit a rough patch, someone is stealing from her clothing store and, despite their situation, Pete’s father is still mooching off their finances. It ain’t easy being 40.
That synopsis reveals one of “This Is 40’s” biggest problems – it doesn’t really have a through line. Rather than have a clear problem to solve or a finish line to reach, Debbie and Pete encounter dozens of little issues that are sloppily stitched together by the fact that they’re both turning 40. Some of these subsections are quite amusing, but overall, at a running time of 134 minutes, the lack of a build makes patience fade fast.
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As a huge Kristen Wiig fan, I was very excited for Bridesmaids. And, as a huge fan of the idea of a female Hangover, I was very excited to see a group of crazy ladies get into all sorts of shenanigans gearing up for their best friend’s big day. Bridesmaids certainly made due on some of my expectations, but also attempted to show off a more dramatic side and while that effort wasn’t a complete failure, the parts I was looking forward to are just so exceptionally successful, it’s impossible that they not tarnish the more dramatic material.
Annie and Lillian (Wiig and Maya Rudolph) are best friends. They do what best friends do; shadily work out behind a tree in a park when they don’t want to pay for the class, smear muffin on their teeth and have conversations and, of course, name the other her Maid of Honor for her wedding. Lillian is about to take the plunge and assigns Annie the Maid of Honor duties with the help of an assortment of other, well, characters in her life. There’s Rita (Wendi McLendon-Covey), the bitter mother, Becca (Ellie Kemper), the naïve newlywed, Megan (Melissa McCarthy), Lillian’s husband’s rather boisterous sister and the bane of Annie’s existence, Helen (Rose Byrne), little miss perfect who’s trying to oust Annie as Lillian’s BFF.
When Annie isn’t scrambling to outdo Helen in wedding world, she’s attempting to maintain a romantic relationship of her own. Too bad her current fling, Ted (Jon Hamm), is more than happy keeping their thing in the F-buddy zone. However, Annie’s beat-up ride works to her benefit when her busted taillights catch the eye of a sweetheart cop looking for love, Officer Rhodes (Chris O’Dowd).
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