As the most successful comedy producer in Hollywood, Judd Apatow has always coached people to mine their own lives for laughs, and for his fourth feature as writer-director (after The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Funny People) he's also mined his own for the cast. Paul Rudd stars as the owner of an independent record label, and playing his glib, overprivileged, media-saturated family are Apatow's wife, Leslie Mann, and daughters, Maude and Iris Apatow. They eat up a lot of screen time without being very funny, and because of Apatow's improvisatory style, the reflections on middle age promised by the title seldom rise above the level of Mann complaining about her breasts. Albert Brooks and John Lithgow come along for the ride as the married couple's flawed fathers, and there are bit roles for Jason Segel, Annie Mumolo, and Graham Parker as himself. But this is too much like a $35-million smart phone filled with kids’ pictures.
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