Friday Flicks: Oscar Contenders, Blockbusters and Comedies Are Released for the Holidays

TIME breaks down which films to see and which to avoid this holiday season.

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Stationed in a covert base overseas, Jessica Chastain (center) plays a member of the elite team of spies and military operatives who secretly devoted themselves to finding Osama Bin Laden

This Is 40

Tagline: The Sort-Of Sequel To ‘Knocked Up’

If you’re a fan of Apatow’s 2007 comedy Knocked Up and were particularly taken by the supporting characters Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), then you’re in luck with this “sort-of sequel”, as the tagline has it, which focuses on Pete and Debbie and their adorable children (who, in real life, have Mann and Apatow as their parents).

And as the title has it, middle age is on the agenda as, firstly, Debbie and then Pete turn the big 4-0 in the same week. Can they work out their angst over aging and accept to grow old (dis)gracefully? Or will we just be confronted with two hours of their yelling at each other, with the odd break to allow the kids and remarried parents (including the likes of Albert Brooks and John Lithgow) to do their thing?

Perhaps we can deliver a verdict by renaming the film This Is 63 — that’s the percentage, at the time of this writing, it’s getting on Rotten Tomatoes. “As his title implies, he could have taken a deeper plunge into the main task of middle age: revision,”= Time Out New York concludes, although  the New Yorker simply says it’s “very funny,” and The Hollywood Reporter feels “there are more than enough bawdy laughs and truthful emotional moments to put this over as a mainstream audience pleaser during a holiday season short on good comedies.”

TIME MAGAZINE: Read more about This Is 40, in this Subscriber-only article

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