This Is 40 Directed by: Judd Apatow Written by: Judd Apatow (screenplay) Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow and Iris Apatow
Paul Rudd is the only main character in Judd Apatow’s latest movie who isn’t part of the comedy auteur’s actual nuclear family. The wife (Leslie Mann) and two children (Maude and Iris Apatow) are basically playing out better-written scenarios of their lives with a cuter dad.
This makes everything about This Is 40 feel both a little weirder and a little more alive; it’s like making your family relive an awkward Christmas on camera. Apatow is a keen observer of white upper middle class life, though his considerable success as writer, director and producer over the past few years has made his class standing considerably higher than that. This movie is his best since his other movie with 40 in the title, albeit much more pensive and mature.
When there are hundreds of movies made every year, patterns start to show up. Whether it’s the characters or the ending, there isn’t much in the way of originality in the movies. This is especially true with characters, whose archetypes have been mixed and matched since Hollywood’s inception. As time progressed, new characters have emerged, and been implemented and overused just like the old stereotypes before them. Here is a list of movie characters we’ve seen time and again the past few years, and that we’ll probably continue to see for many more to come.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl- Realizing your dreams and fulfilling your potential is one of the most common goals of movie protagonists. Young male independent writers/directors like to do this with the help of a leading lady. At first, these characters almost demand to be recognized as free spirits, but as soon as love and narrative momentum chains them down, they become muses whose only purpose is to help the main character fulfill their own potential while they are left unfulfilled. The phrase was first coined by critic Nathan Rabin, who used the term in his review of Elizabethtown. Find them in: Garden State (Natalie Portman), (500) Days of Summer (Zooey Deschanel), Almost Famous (Kate Hudson) and Elizabethtown (Kirsten Dunst)