A messy and funny midlife movie tops the weekend’s offerings.
“This Is 40” is Judd Apatow’s hiliarious, heartfelt and happily chaotic comedy that takes two of the charactes from his 2007 movie “Knocked Up” and gives them a movie of their own. They are Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), married with two daughters, and figuring out all the ins and outs of life at age 40. Yes, the movie is long (at two hours and 14 minutes), and has a few too many characters. But the movie is funny, and honest in its emotions, and it contains a beautiful performance by Leslie Mann as the conflicted, confused and completely charming Debbie.
Another studio movie this week is “Jack Reacher,” Tom Cruise’s latest attempt to start an action franchise. Here he takes on the title role (created by novelist Lee Child), an ex-military police investigator with an uncanny eye for detail. In what Cruise hopes will be the first installment, Reacher comes to the aid of a defense attorney (Rosamund Pike) on the case of a sniper who shot five random Pittsburgh residents. The action has some intense moments, but the pacing is a little sluggish.
Also this weekend (actually, released Wednesday) is “The Guilt Trip,” a predictable mother-son road-trip movie starring Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand. The talent is there, but the jokes aren’t.
Perhaps the best new this weekend (also released Wednesday) is the 3-D re-release of “Monsters, Inc.,” the 2001 Disney/Pixar classic about a human girl landing in the monster world. Somebody want to tell my why this movie lost the first Animated Feature Oscar to “Shrek”?
One more studio release — “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away,” a 3-D celebration of the circus troupe’s Las Vegas shows — was not screened for critics.
On the art-house side, “This Must Be the Place” is an offbeat and rambling drama, centering on Sean Penn as a over-coiffed rock star continuing his late father’s pursuit of a Nazi war criminal. It’s weirdly laconic, and Penn’s performance is, uh, interesting.
The performance of Alan Cumming enlivens “Any Day Now,” a mushy melodrama about a ‘70s gay couple (Cumming and Garret Dillahunt) trying to get custody of an abandoned boy (Isaac Leyva) with Down syndrome.
Lastly, “The Other Son” is a heavy-handed drama with a cheesy premise: Two teens, one Israeli and the other Palestinian, learn they were switched at birth. The movie is as overwrought as it sounds.
Or you can wait until Tuesday, when three more movies hit theaters: “Les Misérables,” “Django Unchained” and “Parental Guidance.” Reviews for those films will be online later today.