Opening Friday, This Is 40 tickles the travails of being rich, white and smug. Maybe a grown-up comedy isnt in the cards for Apatow, whose best works (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) celebrate arrested adolescence.
His latest is a generally messy affair: often uproariously funny, but uneven, overlong, largely improvisational, packed with F-bombs and hobbled by sure-to-be-outdated pop-culture references.
These arent exactly the traits of artistic maturity.
And thats fine Apatow knows how to make audiences laugh, and he has launched the careers of many talented people but perhaps sophisticated themes arent his bag.
Returning from Knocked Up, the comfy, suburban couple at the movies heart, Pete (Paul Rudd, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and Debbie (Apatows wife, Leslie Mann, The Change-Up) are both turning 40. In a loosely structured, shambling narrative, they quarrel over money, sex, difficult parents and migraine-inducing kids (played, incidentally, by Apatow and Manns real children, Maude and Iris).
There are some terrific bits, and the large cast includes nifty turns by the great Albert Brooks (Drive), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) and, surprisingly, Megan Fox (Friends with Kids). But Pete and Debbie arent particularly sympathetic or engaging, and despite a surfeit of ostensible problems, little appears to be at stake.
In the end, being rich, white and smug still has its advantages.