Last night, after Babyface settled into bed, Hubs and I decided to watch This is 40. Let me start by saying that I love almost every movie that Judd Apatow is connected to. I rarely purchase movies, but I own The 40-year-old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad.
They are all comfort movies that offer up great laughs and have had many revivals in our home. We watch them yearly. Todd Phillips movies come in a close second. I could put The Hangover or Old School on repeat and still laugh at every damn scene, maybe even snort a few times.
With a kid, it’s hard to rationalize a babysitter or a grandparent-sitter for a non-action movie. With Apatow movies you don’t lose any of the experience by not seeing them in the theater. It’s not like they warrant a 3D, IMAX experience. They’re the type of movies I long to see and rent the first day they’re released on Blu-ray. Less expensive, but full of a lot of water breaks and pee breaks from Babyface knocking on her wall.
My excitement for Apatow movies rivals that of New Year’s Eve and Halloween festivities, prior to having a kid. My choice of entertainment has shifted, due to circumstance. They’re simply that good. I see nothing wrong with living vicariously from time-to-time.
Normally, my judgmental self can easily decipher whether I like a movie or not. I can decide my deep appreciation or disdain within the first 30 minutes of a movie. For me, it’s not far from being black or white. Would I watch the movie again or would I feel like I wasted two hours of my life? There are rare surprises that need a longer time to register, as good or bad, but by the end of the movie I always know whether I would recommend it to others or not.
With This is 40, that has not been the case. The scenes have settled into my mind, even the day after watching it, like a really odd horror movie. I still can’t figure out whether the characters were amiable or just plain annoying.
Unless I’m watching a documentary or reality TV, I don’t really want to relate to the characters. I like to escape into their world, which in no way mimics my own. I want to dive head first into another world and feel lost. My current world ceases to exist. I am now a supporting character with no lines and no paycheck. In fact, I paid to be a part of the story.
With This is 40, there was a bit of both. It was like watching all of the bad that occurs in my own marriage over a longer span of time. A much longer span of time, like 2 years. The good was something that invoked many exaggerated “aha!” moments or even snorts when I was faced with a scene so funny and so similar to our own family experiences that I felt I could’ve written the script, just with more or less F-bombs or slightly different punch lines.
The movie was like a mirror for any imperfect, married couple. And, let me tell you, I don’t like to stare at certain experiences in the mirror. My own life screenplay is enough. I felt like Apatow had plagiarized my own life with the emotions some of the scenes invoked in me.
I can’t decide whether I found solace in a couple experiencing the same messy parental situations or whether I wanted to kick myself to wake up by watching the characters make similar mistakes. Instead of yelling at the TV screen, I felt like they were screaming at me and saying, “Yes, this is 40. Deal with it. You’ll laugh, but you’ll also be really pissed off a lot.”
Babyface is only four and hasn’t been exposed to the world of social media, yet. This is 40 made me, once again, question how I would react to her immersion into a world that I regularly consume. Will she be required to “friend” us on every site? Will we make sure her computer is set-up in a communal space, so we can keep an eye on the speed of her browser-closing? Will we only give her a cell phone that allows for our numbers and emergency calls without web access? Will she resent us for our decision? Will my mind change after I see how well adjusted she is? Was this a horror movie or a comedy?
Don’t get me wrong. I still love almost everything Judd Apatow allows his name to roll in the credits in. Most of the stars in his movies are my comedic crushes. I still wish I were a kid and could go on a playdate with Iris Apatow and watch the hilarity that must ensue in their household (I feel the same about Steve Carrell and Nancy Walls). I’ll still check all of the Blu-ray release dates for any Apatow flicks. I just felt this movie was a roller coaster of funny and oh-crap-that’s-my-life.
If I could create a Flash rating scale with the thumb moving up and down or the stars increasing and decreasing, it would be the only way I’d feel comfortable rating this movie. “I want some f#$^ing French toast”…right about now.