I’ve been on board with This Is 40 since its announcement, because Pete and Debbie (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann) were the best part of Knocked Up. Its teaser trailer was pretty good, but the theatrical trailer is flat-out great — funny, warm, and smart — and it probably speaks to me a little, because I’m only a few years away from 40.
Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, Albert Brooks, Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) and Megan Fox star in the December 21st release.
Josh Radnor is the weakest link on How I Met Your Mother’s script-transcending cast — his personality is like Wonder bread dipped in skim milk. So when his feature writing and directing debut happythankyoumoreplease got solid reviews, I cocked my left eyebrow, made a mental note of it and went on with my life.
His new film, Liberal Arts, doesn’t look like anything new plot-wise: “emotionally stunted man meets perfectly well-adjusted woman who gets him to open up” thing has started to feel like a (tired) genre unto itself. Even the twist seen here in the trailer — that this may or may not end up as a romantic connection (and probably doesn’t) — seems familiar, reminding me of the Natalie Portman subplot in Beautiful Girls or Lost in Translation.
But I’ve long said that plot is unimportant — that it’s not what you do, but how you do it — and the presence Elizabeth Olsen (as the too-young girl of his dreams), Allison Janney and Richard Jenkins made this interesting. And as it turned out, the trailer has a pitch-perfect tone, and there are just enough hints of something smart, something maybe just a little bit deep… so I’m intrigued.