Writings from the Desk of Kelly Sisco

Live Your Life Out Loud !!

“This is 40” – Playing the Game of Life is not Easy but things do not have to be Harder simply because you are Getting Older.

Age is only a number and it does not have to define who you are. You are really only as old as you feel. If you feel young then you are young and it is that simple. It does not matter how other people look or think of you because it only really matters how you look at yourself. If you come across as young than other people will start to believe that you are much younger then you really are as well.

Debbie played by actress Leslie Mann is turning 40 and on her 40th birthday her husband Pete, played by actor Paul Rudd, gives her a cake with the candle number 38 on top. Debbie does not want to think of herself as the big 40 just yet so she is trying to convince herself that she is really two years younger. Many women get more upset about growing older than men. In real life Leslie Mann is 41 years old but she is in great shape and looks and acts much younger. You would never know her true age. My mom who is in her early 60’s looks more like she is in her late 40’s. Never be ashamed of your real age.

“This is 40” is directed by the famous comedy writer and director Judd Apatow who also directed the popular movies “Knocked Up”, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”, “Pineapple Express”, “Get Him to the Greek” and “Funny People” to name just a few. He also directed the well-written television show “Freaks and Geeks” but it only was on the air for one season. Recently my family and I were watching the news program “60 Minutes” on television where they interview a lot of important famous people and Judd Apatow was on this particular night. I knew about all of Judd Apatow’s movies and seen most of them. I love the comedic actors that he picks to star in his movies but to my surprise I never heard of him. His face looked familiar but his name was not ringing a bell. I asked my parents if they had heard of him and they both did. That was a shock to me because the movies Judd Apatow directors are usually geared towards a younger audience but my parents are young at heart and my father especially knows a lot about movies and music from all generations. Judd Apatow has a family that has followed in his acting footsteps. His wife is Leslie Mann who he has casted as the lead role in many of his movies and also his two daughters Maude Paotow who is 15 and Iris Apatow who is younger. Both his daughters are cute actresses and might just grow up to become big stars. Their father, Judd Apatow, should be very proud. Judd likes to put his real family into the role of the family in many of his movies because it is more effective and perhaps easier to write a script about a family who is probably very much like his own family with how the actors act and the drama that goes on in the story when your actually family is playing themselves. Nonetheless Judd Apatow is a one-of-a-kind class act and no one can produce and director comedies like he can. Comedy is great when viewers can relate to the story and feel like they have aspects of that family in their own families and can relate to many of the situations as well. The best comedy is the comedy that shows true things that happen because people always like to laugh and joke about themselves and normal stuff that turns out funny somehow.

Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd are married and are trying to get things right in “This is 40.” They both love each other very much but something is missing from their romance. Sometimes when you are married to someone for so long the things that first turned you on about your partner do not as much anymore. After the head-over- heals phase ends, then the real marriage starts with life’s responsibilities. Debbie played by Leslie Mann owns a boutique shop and Pete played by Paul Rudd owns his own record label and signs bands that were once popular. Both started their own businesses because they could not get jobs working for someone else. Pete does not want his wife to know that he is having money problems and that they probably are going to have to sell their big fancy house and downsize to a smaller house. But Debbie does not want to admit it but she knows they are having money issues when she is missing $12,000 of the profits from her boutique. She thinks that her employee Desi played by Model and actress Megan Fox stole the money because Debbie sees her with fancy new clothes and a rich new car and wonders how she could afford all of it just being a salesgirl. The family is strapped for money and Debbie finds out that her husband, Pete is giving his father Larry, played by Albert Brooks over, $50,000 every year. Debbie cannot believe this and wants to confront her husband but needs to wait for the right timing but no timing will be right to discuss this major issue. Larry’s new younger wife recently had triplet boys and Larry really did not want any more kids at his age but he did for his new younger wife who never had kids before.

“This is 40” is a movie about living youthfully and trying to stay young at heart and not let everything in life slow a person down. Unlike Pete who has a father that is present in his life, Debbie is just getting to know her father. An important scene in the movie is when Debbie and her father Oliver, played by John Lithgow, meet at a restaurant after not seeing each other for years. This scene is very awkward for the both of them because even though Debbie is making a strong effort, to connect with her father he does not want to be at that dinner. Debbie’s father has a new family since he married a new younger woman and has younger children whom Debbie has never met. This scene made me appreciate my dad (whom I was watching the movie with) a little more since we are very close and he does everything for me. Debbie and her husband’s father Larry do not see eye to eye but she would rather have Larry as her father any day even if he is a mooch and takes their money because he is around often for his son Pete. That is part of what Debbie is missing from her life, a father she can depend on. Nevertheless, Debbie seems to have turned out fine and is a very strong, mother, wife and woman. Debbie just wishes her life was going better and at 40 she tries to change a few things. One thing is to spend more quality time with her two daughters. Debbie tells her older daughter Sadie, played by Maude Apatow, that she cannot watch any more of her favorite show “Lost” and the WIFI Internet connect will be taken out of the house because Maude spends too much time on the computer talking with her friends instead of outside playing with her friends maybe building a fort. This really frustrates Sadie because girls her age live for technology. Her mother does have a point but she might have taken her point to an extreme. Even though the girls think that their mother in uncool Debbie tries to prove that she is youthful and still has style by listening to singers like Nicki Minaj that in one particular scene Debbie turns up loud in her daughter’s bedroom and starts randomly dancing too. Their father Pete turns their music off and puts on the band that he is trying to bring back with the concert he is hosting. His family does not like the music but in my opinion the band is actually good. He dragged his wife to one of their concerts and his wife wanted nothing more but to leave. In a few weeks he was getting that band to perform live again and in another scene later on in the movie you see that band on stage. Pete was very disappointed because the concert turned out to be not as financially successful as he thought it was going to be. In the past the band was very sucessful. Pete was living in the past but the band was not upset and they were just happy to be playing again live and the lead singer, Graham Parker, said that one of his songs had a spot on the popular show “Glee” and he was happy with that. But in the audience at that concert that Pete hosted was Billie Joe Armstrong, who is the lead singer from the punk rock group Green Day. Billie Joe is a big fan Graham Parker and Rumor and it seemed like he was one of the only true fans left. It is sad how times change and good artists just fade away and no matter how hard you try to bring their music back, the timing often is wrong. Sometimes the past is meant to stay in the past.

Debbie and Pete want so badly to rekindle their romance that they take some time off and go on vacation alone. I wondered how they could afford this vacation when they were having financial trouble. Perhaps their trip is a last hierarch with the money that is remaining. But anyway, on their vacation they spend time getting to know each other all over again like they were meeting each other for the first time. They have wild sex and seem to be very happy. When their trip was over, they could not have been more in love until the reality of life set back in. When you take responsibility and real life out of the situation, of course things seem to be going well and people are getting along but the real test of love is how a married couple gets along even with the chaos from their everyday lives. Debbie and Pete as parents want to protect their daughters and especially their older daughter, Sadie, who is going through a harder time because she is going through puberty and started getting her period. Since they have taken her computer away, one night before going to bed they snoop through it and check out her Facebook page. They read her personal messages and see that a boy at her school made a “hot list” and did not put Sadie’s name on it but instead put her name on the “ugly list”. Her parents read Sadie’s response to this boy and are proud of her for sticking up for herself but still are upset that someone would treat their sweet beautiful daughter like this in the first place. The next day the girl’s mother, Debbie, while dropping the younger daughter Charlotte, played by Iris Apatow, off at school runs, into the boy, played by actor Ryan Lee, who made those two lists. First she makes sure that she has the right boy and when he confesses that he made those lists something inside of her gets vicious and she goes crazy on him and he starts to cry. As a mother she really did not mean to say what she did but something inside her was not going to take anyone pushing her daughter around and she really did not think that a boy, who comes across as confident and tough on the Internet, would really cry from her words. This brings me to yet another scene when Pete, the girl’s father, brings the younger daughter Iris to school a few days later instead of their mother but this time things get even more out of hand. Pete runs into the boy’s mother, played by actress Melissa McCarthy, and confronts her but he did not realize that she was going to get even more vicious back. Actress Melissa McCarthy sticks up for son and takes the argument to a whole other level that winds Pete and Debbie along with Melissa in the Counselor’s office. While with the counselor Pete and Debbie act as if they are innocent and that it is the boy’s mother’s entire fault for the argument. The counselor believes through that the boy’s mother is out of control because she goes totally crazy on the couple. This scene shows what can happen when you take things too far and how ridiculous you can act from a situation that was meant to teach a lesson about respect. The parents wanted to teach actress Melissa McCarthy’s son how to treat someone and what not to say but they accomplished nothing but acted worse and in the end needed to listen to their own lesson.

This movie starts out with it being Debbie’s birthday and this movie ends at Pete’s birthday party. Pete invites many important people to his party to share in with him getting older including his best friends played by well-known actors Jason Sigel (also Debbie’s personal fitness trainer) and Chris O’Dowd. It is crazy how at first I actually though that Judd Apatow was Chris O’Dowd and I did not know that I was wrong until I looked the cast up on the Internet. Both Judd Apatow and Chis O’Dowd look so very much alike that it is truly scary. This birthday party does not really go as well as Debbie hopes for her husband. Pete needs to get away from the headache and so he leaves his own party and rides his bike around town as fast as he can only to injure himself and become more miserable as a result. He thought that by riding around he would find an answer to his life’s problems. Something had to give. Both sides of the family do not get along and maybe that is because her father never met her family. Debbie’s two girls are meeting their grandfather for the first time. John Lithgow who plays Debbie’s father, Oliver, is acting extremely awkward because he does not know where to begin with a family that he does not even know. Pete’s father, played by Albert Brooks, is shocked how anyone could neglect their own child for many years. Oliver storms out of the party causing a big scene. However, he has a change of heart and turns around to looks into his daughter’s eyes showing that he is going to start to make an effort to be part of the family. Pete’s father has a nice scene with Debbie, who is his daughter-in-law, and basically tells her that she is like a daughter to him. Everything pretty much comes together at the end.

“This is 40” shows that everyone has faults and everyone goes though periods in their life when they are questioning things, but somehow with enough strength a family can pull together. At the end of the movie, the couple, Debbie and Pete, are about to have another baby. At first they both do not want another kid because their two daughters are growing older and they do not want to raise a baby but through strength they turn their attitude around and embrace the coming of their third child. The road for them will not be easy and of course they will hit roadblocks along the way. Money is tight for them as well but throughout the movie the couple has gotten closer and this new baby will only bring them even closer. Life is a struggle and those struggles can turn into some great comedy. It is satisfying when you can look back and laugh at yourself for mistakes made. It is also comforting when a situation that could have went horribly wrong turns out good in the end. In the New Year I wish all good things for every family and give them the courage, love and inner strength to pull through even when they rather give up. There will always be bad days in life but when you get though them you will feel so proud of yourself and even more deeply in love with those around you.

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This entry was posted on September 4, 2013 by in Movies - Reviews of Recent Movies.
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