It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

This is 40

Self-indulgent. Nevel-gazing. Structureless. Plotless. These are some of the shared criticisms that have been leveled at Judd Apatow’s This Is 40, but many of these denunciations have been articulated in tandem with complaints about the film’s length. “This is 40 hours long” became a common joke on Twitter after press screenings leading to the theatrical release, and descriptions of critics’ experience of the film’s length were often provided in great detail alongside some of the above criticisms. Dana Stevens of Slate even mistakenly referred to the 133-minute film as “nearly three hours long.” It’s strange that, in the same month that saw the high-profile releases of several two-and-a-half-plus-hour films including Django Unchained, Les Miserables, and Zero Dark Thirty, it’s Apatow’s film that has received the bulk of holiday season duration-related criticism. Sure, there have been complaints about The Hobbit’s 170-minute running time, but that’s also a film that is 1/3 of an adaptation of a relatively short novel and has been projected on some screens at an eye-fucking frame rate. In short, the length of The Hobbit seems to be only one of several problems, whereas the flaws of This is 40 have often been summarized, and inferred, as revolving around its length.

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There are some bold claims going on in this trailer. Namely, that anyone who’s ever been funny is in the movie. Plus, the phrases, “whamdoodle,” “humdinger,” and “stem winder,” are involved. Like most of the movie, I have no idea what they mean. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World really did feature a metric ton of comedic talent including Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Spencer Tracy, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Edie Adams, Jonathan Winters and more cameos than The Hangover can shake a stick at. It was an adventure of a lifetime that was essentially remade as Rat Race years later, but the original is still the best.

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