How to be a “Feel Good Movie”, “This Is 40” style:
Create two miserable characters, unhappily married to each other. Show in great detail all the miserable facets of their unhappy relationship… the lack of personal space, the unfulfilled wishes, the financial pressures, the ridiculous demands they place on each other, and then show them argue about these things. At length. Constantly. Then show how miserable that this is making the couple’s children. Then show the irresponsible parents that caused these two to grow up miserably, and how they’re still making the couple miserable. Finally, your audience will be miserable after watching two hours of nonstop arguing and misery and complaining about being miserable.
Then, when the credits roll… it will feel SO good.
Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann who play an unhappily married couple. When I say unhappy, I mean “what’s keeping these two from killing each other?” unhappy. In fact, at one point, they openly discuss that they fantasize about killing each other, and I’ll freely admit that I was fantasizing about one of them killing the other, too.
All they do is bitch.
No, that’s not fair, occasionally they bury their contempt for each other behind a thin veneer of pretension and cordiality. But the film never lets those phases last long.
Individually, they’re not that likeable either. They’re the two worst business people in the world. He’s started a record label in order to sign, apparently, only one has-been, senior citizen client, yet he acts surprised that he’s not making any money. In his free time, he’s one of those bicyclists who thinks he owns the road. She runs some sort of small scale, hipster clothing store, yet is unaware that someone has embezzled a large sum of money from her. He hides the financial trouble they’re in while feeding handouts to his deadbeat father (Albert Brooks) who’s raising three young children he’s just had with a new wife.
In between their fighting we get to watch them bemoaning getting old. In one of the funniest scenes this film has to offer, we get to watch them both undergo age appropriate medical exams; colonoscopies, a gynecological exam, breast exam, etc. Later, we get to watch Rudd’s character ask his wife to check his ass. No, seriously, no exaggeration, butt naked, legs raised, he’s examining his anus with a handheld mirror being the only thing obstructing our view. So, thank them at least for that much.
You know, I just figured if I were going to complain about the bad stuff, I should share the funniest parts too.
So, somewhere along the line, its supposed to be funny watching these two fight. But it’s not. And I can’t figure out how it’s supposed to be… They’re not setting up pratfalls, or punchlines, or payoffs, they literally just throw hate at each other. Ha ha ha, look how funny it is that they’re making each other this unhappy? With the exception of one brief period of respite (the hotel room scene the trailer features), they just talk about how miserable they’re making each other, and somehow we’re supposed to laugh at it.
Melissa McCarthy’s one scene is funnier than the rest of the movie combined.
Self indulgent at a 2hr 15 minute runtime, and with little character development along the way (seriously, they fight bitterly right up until the last 2 minutes, and I honestly don’t trust these two not to resume fighting if the movie would have run longer), I don’t understand this movie just as much as I don’t like it.
This is NOT 40, %#&$ you, Judd Apatow.
This is not the worst movie of the year, in fact, I doubt it will even make my ten worst… I have to admit that its professionally put together and competently acted, etc etc, which many of the films on that list are not. But if the list were more personal? If it were just the movies I hated most? This is the hands down winner. I am bitterly resentful that I was made to sit through that.