While having sex in the shower Pete reveals to his wife Debbie that he took a Viagra given to him by his friend Barry (Rob Smigel); this enrages Debbie and they stop. Debbie is angered that she is turning 40.
In the five years since Knocked Up, Debbie owns a boutique with Desi (Megan Fox) and Jodi (Charlyne Yi) working for her. Pete owns his own record label, with his friends Ronnie (Chris O'Dowd) and Cat (Lena Dunham) working with him. Pete's business is struggling financially as he promotes the reunion of Graham Parker & The Rumour. The couple also are having to deal with their daughters; Sadie, a young teenager, and eight-year-old Charlotte. For Debbie's birthday, the couple goes on a romantic weekend to a resort. There they get high from eating marijuana cookies, and fantasize out loud about ways they would kill each other.
After speaking with her friends Jason (Jason Segel) and Barb (Annie Mumolo), Debbie decides to improve her marriage and family through exercise, and becoming more connected with her parents. Debbie tells Pete that he needs to stop lending his dad, Larry (Albert Brooks), money, because it is hurting them financially. Pete goes to visit him, but is unsuccessful at giving him the news, and still agrees to give him money. Meanwhile, Debbie visits her gynecologist (Tim Bagley), and discovers that she is pregnant. She decides not to tell Pete about this. Later, she yells at a student, Joseph (Ryan Lee), who has been taunting Sadie. She yells at him so much that his mother, Catherine (Melissa McCarthy), gets into an argument with Pete.
One night between the school taunting sequences, Debbie takes Desi out dancing at a club, planning to confront her with her suspicions that she has been stealing money from the store. Debbie and Desi meet several players from the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team at the pub. Debbie awkwardly finds out that one of the players wants to hang out with her and possibly sleep with her. She is proud that he wants to have sex with her, but admits that she is married, has two kids, and is pregnant. Afterwards, Debbie drops Desi off at her house and confronts her about the missing money. Desi reveals she is able to afford nice things because she is also an escort. Later, Debbie meets up with Jodi, who confesses that she stole the money to buy Oxycontin. Debbie fires her and leaves. Meanwhile, Pete and Debbie are having to deal with Sadie and Charlotte fighting all the time, which results in arguments between the family. They later have a meeting with the principal, but the couple denies everything that happened. The couple is overjoyed when Catherine starts using the same language they used previously and the principal dismisses them.
On Pete's 40th birthday party, he argues with his dad about the money he wants from them. Debbie argues with her dad about not spending enough much time in her life, and how his is perfect. Oliver then explains that his life is not perfect, and how he has always cared about her and loved her. Later, Pete overhears Debbie talking about her pregnancy, and rides out of the house on his bicycle in anger. Debbie and Larry then go after Pete, trying to find him. Soon, they find that he wrecked after hitting his head on a car door. Pete then gets into an argument with the driver of the car who then punches him in the stomach. Debbie and Larry take Pete to the hospital, where Larry and Debbie reconcile, with Larry advising Debbie that it's because of her, that she keeps the family together. Debbie and Pete talk later and Pete explains that he is actually thrilled about having a third baby, and that he doesn't feel trapped, so the two reconcile. Sometime later, Pete and Debbie are watching a small concert with Ryan Adams performing. Debbie then suggests that Pete should sign him to his label and plan to talk to him as they finish watching the show. After the main credits roll, there's an extended alternate take of Catherine ad-libbing insults during the conversation with Debbie, Pete, and the principal.
Characters from Knocked Up:Paul Rudd as Pete, Debbie's husband and a record label owner
Leslie Mann as Debbie, Pete's wife and a shop owner
Maude Apatow as Sadie, their 13-year-old daughter
Iris Apatow as Charlotte, their 8-year-old daughter
Jason Segel as Jason, Debbie's trainer
Charlyne Yi as Jodi, one of Debbie's employees
Tim Bagley as Dr. Pellegrino, Debbie's gynecologist
The film—Apatow's fourth directorial effort—was announced in October 2010, while he was producing Universal's Wanderlust.
This Is 40 was originally scheduled to be released on June 1, 2012. In May 2011, Universal postponed the release to December 2012, allowing the studio to use that date for their release of Snow White & the Huntsman; the Snow White film was seen as better competition with a rival 2012 Snow White film project, Mirror Mirror, by Relativity Media.
The premiere for This Is 40 was held on December 12, 2012 at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre, in Los Angeles. The film was released on December 21, 2012, opening in 2,912 locations nationwide.
During its opening weekend, This Is 40 grossed $11.58 million at the domestic box office.
By the end of its theatrical run, This Is 40 grossed approximately $67.5 million at the domestic box office, and approximately $20.5 million at the foreign box office, with a worldwide total of $88,058,786. While it had the lowest opening weekend for any of Apatow's films, it was a greater box-office success than his prior film, Funny People.
This Is 40 received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 51% approval rating, based on reviews from 211 critics, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Judd Apatow definitely delivers funny and perceptive scenes in This Is 40, even if they are buried in aimless self-indulgence." On Metacritic, the film received a score of 59 out of 100, based on reviews from 39 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph gave the film two stars out of five, commending its premise but criticizing its execution. "This Is 40 is a comedy film about the hell of getting older in a place where aging naturally is the last taboo, and I only wish it lived up to that utterly inspired concept...every scene feels like an airbrushed composite of dozens of rambling takes, and 133 minutes is drainingly long for a story this sitcom-slight," he wrote.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three stars out of four, saying "There are big laughs here, and smaller ones that sting. Rudd and Mann are a joy to watch, especially when their comic darts draw blood, as when Debbie tells "charmboy" Pete that inside he's a dick. Cheers as well to a terrific supporting cast, including Melissa McCarthy as a mother from hell, John Lithgow as Debbie's withdrawn father, and the priceless Albert Brooks as Pete's dad, living off his son's dole to support his tow-headed triplets. This Is 40 doesn't build to a catharsis. It sometimes dawdles as it circles the spectacle of a marriage in flux. Yet Pete and Debbie's sparring yields some of Apatow's most personal observations yet on the feelings for husbands, wives, parents, and children that we categorize as love."
Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune said "More like This Is Whiny", giving the film two and a half stars out of four. "This Is 40 has its share of clever, zingy material, proving that writer-director Judd Apatow has lost none of his ability to land a punch line with the right, unexpected turn of phrase. 'My boobs are just ... gone,' bemoans Debbie, played by Leslie Mann, comparing hers with those of her employee, played by Megan Fox. Then comes the second line, building smartly on the setup: 'They didn't even say goodbye.' Mann is wonderful, a uniquely skillful comic and dramatic actor—wide-eyed yet merrily devastating when the venom's called for. Rudd can get away with murder on sheer charm. But it's easy, and sort of lazy, to establish jokes and entire scenes built upon mocking somebody's dialect, or the older daughter's obsession with Lost."
Media blog eatpraymedia.com gave the film 3.5 stars citing its overly bloated run time preventing the film from ever becoming one of Apatow's great films but praised the performance of the supporting cast including John Lithgow and Jason Segel.
Richard Roeper gave the film a C- and called the film "a huge disappointment". His main complaint about the film was its running time and most of the unnecessary supporting characters.
The New Yorker's Richard Brody writes, This Is 40 "is the stuff of life, and it flows like life, and, like life, it would be good for it to last longer".
This Is 40 was released for Blu-ray and DVD in the U.S. on March 22, 2013. It is available for digital download on iTunes, Google Play, and other websites. The Blu-ray version is being sold as a single disc, and also a combo pack, which includes a DVD copy, digital copy, and Ultraviolet. The disc features an unrated and also theatrical version of the film, as well as numerous bonus features.
Director Judd Apatow stated he is interested in a possible sequel, shifting the focus off married couple Pete and Debbie and moving it onto their budding teenage daughter Sadie. During an interview on March 30, 2013, Apatow was questioned about the prospect of a sequel to This Is 40. He admitted to being intrigued by the idea.