Though Apatow has kept busy producing movies like Bridesmaids, Get Him to the Greek, Wanderlust, and even Lena Dunham's HBO series Girls, Apatow hasn't directed a feature since Funny People in 2009. Now he returns, however, with his fourth feature directorial endeavor. By all indications, This Is 40 is very much in keeping with The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up.
In fact, as the poster declares, the new movie is a sort-of sequel to Knocked Up, perhaps the most potent combination of human and character-based storytelling from Apatow since Freaks and Geeks. "Spin-off" is probably more appropriate than "sort-of sequel," though, since This Is 40 features supporting players from the earlier film, but doesn't otherwise take pains to tie into its kinda-sorta predecessor.
Those characters are Pete and Debbie, once again played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, along with Mann and Apatow's real life kids Maude Apatow and Iris Apatow. All four are represented on this new poster, which finds the married couple looking exceptionally uninterested as their daughters cut loose.
Last month, Universal actually made Apatow's This Is 40 screenplay available to read online for free. Download the script at the studio's awards site. Obviously, reading the movie's script will reveal the whole story, but given Apatow's reliance on improvisation from the entire cast, many of the best moments and jokes will still be a surprise when the movie hits theaters on December 21st.
With Rudd and Mann carrying the film, Apatow has populated This Is 40 with a murderer's row of funny folks, including Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy, Albert Brooks, John Lithgow, Chris O'Dowd, Charlyne Li, Robert Smigel, Phil Hendrie, Lena Dunham, and Ryan Lee. Oh, and Megan Fox has a significant role, as well.
And because this is a movie involving Apatow and Jason Segel, that means I have an excuse to share these two clips from Freaks and Geeks. Ladies and gentlemen, "Lady L:"