This Is 40 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Expect a top-notch transfer here.
At all times, sharpness looked good. No notable signs of softness occurred, as the image was accurate and concise. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes also didn’t become a factor. No print flaws marred the presentation.
We got a pretty standard palette here, with a mild orange/teal tint on display. That’s typical for modern movies, and the hues looked positive within the moderate stylistic constraints. Blacks were dark and deep, and shadows seemed smooth and concise. I felt pleased with this positive presentation.
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of 40, it gave us the kind of low-key mix I’d anticipate from a character-based comedy. Any instances of a broad soundscape were modest at best. A few minor elements opened up the track – like planes that flew over Larry’s house – but those remained infrequent. Instead, the film offered decent stereo spread to the music along with gentle ambience. It didn’t sizzle, but it suited the material.
Audio quality was satisfactory. Speech always came across as accurate and distinctive, without edginess or other concerns. Music seemed warm and full, and effects provided concise elements, with solid low-end when appropriate. This was a perfectly competent track for a flick of this sort.
We get a good selection of bonus materials here. These start with an audio commentary from writer/director Judd Apatow. In his running, screen-specific chat, Apatow discusses story/character topics and autobiographical elements, cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography and visual design, editing and deleted scenes, music, and some other areas.
Though the veteran of many commentaries, Apatow never sat solo for one until now. That doesn’t become an obstacle, as even without support, Apatow delivers a strong examination of the film. He mostly focuses on story/character areas, but he touches on a little of everything and makes this an entertaining and informative discussion.
The disc provides both the film’s theatrical version (2:13:44) and an extended cut (2:17:03). What do you get from the extra three minutes and 19 seconds? Seven scenes with added footage, virtually all of which bring us short tidbits. The opening “birthday sex” segment shows an alternate argument, and we see short extensions to six other areas.
Do any of these change the film in a notable way? Nope. The only significant story material shows up during the Rumour concert; Cat (Lena Dunham) quits her job at Pete’s label and he reveals that he was the one who signed Pearl Jam. That’s not a particularly big bit, though; it tells us about Pete’s motives for leaving Sony, but we already hear a little about that in the final cut. The other changes/additions are enjoyable but don’t improve or hurt the film. Both versions work about as well as each other.
Next we find a documentary called The Making of This Is 40. Spread across two parts, it fills a total of 50 minutes, five seconds with info from Apatow, registered nurse/actor Christina Cannarellla, production designer Jefferson Sage, producer Barry Mendel, and actors Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Robert Smigel, Lena Dunham, Maude Apatow, Megan Fox, Graham Parker, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Jason Segel, Scott Hartnell, Chris O’Dowd, Ryan Lee, and Melissa McCarthy.
“Making” examines the film’s roots and development, story/character subjects, cast and performances, sets and locations, and general notes from the shoot. While we get a lot of comments, “Making” mostly acts as a kind of video diary. We get a lot of elements from the sets and similar on the fly materials. The two sides combine well to make this a useful, engaging piece.
Two featurettes follow. This Is Albert Brooks (At Work) lasts 10 minutes, 58 seconds and involves Apatow, Mendel, Brooks, Lithgow, and Mann. We learn of Brooks’ casting as well as aspects of his performance. This means much more footage from the set and a lot of fun outtakes.
(By the way, Apatow says he can’t remember seeing Brooks as a parent. Apatow has kids and didn’t have to watch Finding Nemo 12,000 times? And as one of the title characters in The In-Laws, I can think of at least one other parental role in Brooks’ past.)
For the final featurette, we get the 17-minute, 30-second Graham Parker and the Rumour: Long Emotional Ride. It delivers notes from Parker as well as co-producer/engineer Dave Cook and musicians Andrew Bodnar, Steve Goulding, Martin Belmont, Bob Andrews and Brinsley Schwarz. We learn about the reunion of Parker and the Rumour as well as aspects of their new collaboration. This doesn’t have anything to do with the creation of 40, but it’s reasonably interesting nonetheless.
Under The Music, we find concert sequences. Essentially outtakes from the finished film, these cover “Graham Parker and the Rumour” (five songs, 20:35), “Graham Parker” (two tracks, 5:59) and “Ryan Adams” (three tunes, 9:52). It’s nice to get the complete performances here.
As with all Apatow releases, we get copious amounts of cut footage. This means 15 Deleted Scenes (35:36) and nine Extended and Alternate Scenes (18:24). These tend to focus on secondary characters, so we find a lot more of Barry and his wife as well as the kids at dinner and the like. We also get a long look at the talent showcase Pete hosts and an unused postscript.
Some amusing material shows up here, and we find extended cameos from Billie Joe Armstrong and Eels. Very little of the footage should’ve made it into the final flick – which is already too long – but we do find more than a few entertaining snippets. A party sequence in which Jodi sexually services Ronnie is comedy gold; part of me wants to see a movie about them.
Expect some dross along the way, though. A long scene in which Sadie videochats with Joseph goes nowhere, and the musical performances drag forever. The postscript is cute but not all that exciting. Except for maybe the Ronnie/Jodi bit – which is inessential but hilarious – I can’t think of any that should’ve been in the final film.
Alternate line readings pop up in Line-O-Rama” Parts 1 and 2 (4:48 and 3:39) as well as in Brooks-O-Rama (2:46). These mostly show scenes found in the final flick but with different dialogue. Plenty of these are quite funny and they make for a terrific addition to the set. (By the way, “Brooks-O-Rama” works the same as the other segments but concentrates on Albert Brooks.)
Two Gag Reels show up as well. “Part 1” runs three minutes, 33 seconds, and “Part 2” goes for four minutes, 53 seconds. A lot of these moments show goofs/giggles, but we also get more alternate lines, so the reels are more useful than most.
Biking with Barry occupies two minutes, 43 seconds. This isn’t really a featurette; it’s just more material in the “alternate take” vein, with a concentration on the Robert Smigel character. Expect more amusing material.
Smigel’s famous character pops up in the eight-minute, 36-second Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. The foul-mouthed canine puppet comes to the set of 40 and chats with Rudd, Lithgow, Mann, Apatow, Fox, Annie Mumalo and Smigel himself. Triumph mocks all of them in signature style and creates some laughs.
A continuation of themes established on other discs, Kids on the Loose 3 fills 11 minutes, 41 seconds. It lets us see Apatow direct his girls. They’re not as wild as they were in earlier chapters – seen on the Funny People and Knocked Up releases - but we still get some decent shots from the set. Also, a little more of Megan Fox in a bikini is always a good thing.
A ”Bodies By Jason” Commercial lasts one minute, 27 seconds. Not glimpsed in the film, it lets us view the Jason character’s cheap TV commercial. It offers a fun addition to the set.
We finish with a 44-minute radio interview from Fresh Air with Terry Gross. In this piece, Gross chats with Apatow about aspects of the film and reflections on his real life. Some of this repeats material from the commentary, but Gross takes Apatow down a mix of alternate paths. We get a delightful, insightful discussion.
The disc opens with ads for Les Miserables, Admission, Suits, The Host and Jurassic Park 3D. No trailer for 40 appears here.
A second disc delivers a DVD Copy of 40. It includes a mix of extras, which makes it more valuable than some of these bonus discs.
Like all Judd Apatow movies, This Is 40 entertains with cleverness and wit. Like all Judd Apatow movies, This Is 40 needs an editor and would be more satisfying with some trims. It’s good but could’ve been great if took a more concise path. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals and supplements as well as pretty positive audio. 40 comes with flaws, but I still think it’s enjoyable enough to merit my recommendation.