An Underrated Paul Rudd Family Film Is Rising On Netflix

This Is 40 is #4 on Netflix's Top 10 Movies.

By Britta DeVore | Published

When it comes to movies about getting older, none of them hit the nail on the head quite like the Judd Apatow comedy This Is 40. And Netflix subscribers are in agreement as the film is currently in the streamer’s top ten. Billed as the “sort-of sequel” to Apatow’s 2007 comedy, Knocked Up, the film features an absolutely stacked cast including the likes of Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Jason Segel, John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Melissa McCarthy, Lena Dunham, Chris O’Dowd, Charlyne Yi, Tim Bagley, Albert Brooks, Ryan Lee, Robert Smigel, and several others, along with the backing of the creator of Undeclared, it’s no shock as to how or why the film has been burning up the Netflix charts.

First appearing in the Seth Rogan and Katherine Heigl led Knocked Up, Paul Rudd plays Pete who is married to Leslie Mann’s Debbie. In the previous film we meet Debbie as the sister of Alison (Heigl), and she finds herself stuck in a passionless marriage with her husband. Debbie believes that Pete is cheating on her only to discover that he’s actually part of a fantasy baseball draft and has been doing solo activities including checking out the latest flick at the cinema in order to avoid his wife who he’s come to resent. Understandably upset that Pete never brought these issues to her, the couple separates which leads Pete to going on a bender with Rogan’s character, Ben, before the two realize their mistakes and come crawling back to their partners.

In This Is 40, audiences meet back up with Paul Rudd’s Pete and Leslie Mann’s Debbie as the two face an entirely new set of problems. Their children are now teenagers and pure terrors at that. Debbie owns her own business and discovers that one of her employees has been pilfering money out from underneath her. To make it all that much worse, both Pete and Debbie are quickly approaching 40, with both of their birthdays just around the corner. Struggling to stay together, the couple finds themselves questioning their relationship all over again.

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Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann in This Is 40 (2012)

While it seemed like the Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann led feature would be a box office smash, considering the reception its predecessor Knocked Up received, the film fell flat with critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, This Is 40 currently sits at a 51% critics score up against a 50% audience score. It’s worth noting, however, that not all critics hated the film. Rolling Stone’s Pete Travers gave the flick three out of four stars, celebrating the leading cast’s performances. 

Regardless of its mixed reception from critics, earlier this year Apatow stated that he plans to make another feature set ten years in the future titled, This Is 50. Although no news surrounding its production has been revealed, we can expect more of the same antics carried out by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters will play out in the threequel film. Who knows, maybe even Seth Rogan and Katherine Heigl would reprise their roles should the opportunity present itself. 

In the years since This Is 40, all of its leading actors and the filmmaker behind it have been busy. For Paul Rudd, he’s found incredible success in the MCU, first taking on the role of the titular hero in 2015’s Ant-Man. Since then, he’s appeared in several other Marvel movies with the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania serving as the kickoff for the franchise’s Phase 5.

Like Paul Rudd, his This Is 40 co-star, Leslie Mann has also been busy in the decade since the film’s release. From comedies like Blockers to dramas like Welcome to Marwen, the actress has nabbed a slew of roles over the last few years. Most recently, she once again teamed up with hubby Judd Apatow for his comedy The Bubble. The movie marked Apatow’s return to filmmaking following the 2020 dramedy, The King of Staten Island, in which Pete Davidson starred.  

With time moving forward, and the actors and characters getting older, now is the perfect time for a new movie centered around Debbie and Pete’s lives as they approach 50. With their on-screen kids moving towards college and a life on their own, there’s plenty of plots that could be explored. For now, we implore you to head to Netflix and see why the Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann led film is trending in the streamer’s top ten.