Ben: Pregnant... With emotion?
Alison: With a baby.
Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) is a carefree stoner who lives with his eccentric group of friends. He has no job, money from a settlement check that he carelessly splurges, and very little ambition. In fact, his main concerns in life are getting high, and working on a website that he and his buddies designed which catalogs the nude scenes of female celebrities in popular cinema. Little does he know that his life is about to be irrevocably changed when he goes out to a club one night and meets...
Allison Scott (Katherine Heigl), who is an up and coming entertainment journalist for the E! television network, out celebrating her recent promotion to an on-camera position. Though young and attractive, Allison has had little time for dating as her focus has been entirely on work and advancing her career. The two meet while trying to get the attention of the club's bartender, and they hit it off. Several hours (and many drinks) later, a tipsy Allison invites Ben home with her, where they have what they believe to be a drunken one-night stand.
The next morning, Ben and a remorseful Allison say their good-byes, thinking that they will never see each other again. This plan is drastically altered when, 8 weeks after her encounter with Ben, Allison starts feeling ill in the mornings and she panics when she realizes that she missed her period last month. A few dozen pregnancy tests later, her worst fears are confirmed: she's pregnant, and the only man that could possibly be the father is the last man she would ever see herself having a long-term relationship with.
This Is 40 is a Spin-Off movie or "sort-of sequel" written and directed by Apatow that follows the lives of Allison's sister Debbie (Apatow's real life wife Leslie Mann) and her husband Pete (Paul Rudd) five years later. It was released in December 2012.
This film provides examples of:
- Adam Westing: Ryan Seacrest as a foul-mouthed, hot-tempered version of himself.
- Ambiguously Gay: Jonah in a deleted scene.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Over the course of the film, Allison's pregnancy transforms Ben from a hopeless stoner with no future into an at least passable father figure.
- Binge Montage: Ben and Pete on mushrooms in Las Vegas, complete with a Fish-Eye Lens effect during the Cirque du Soleil show.
- Blowing Smoke Rings: Ben is blowing one in the opening scene.
- Brain Bleach: "I shouldn't have gone in there!"
- Butt-Monkey: Martin by the rest of the guys. It's implied that he's used to this, but after he makes a bet not to shave for a year at the beginning, they go out of their way to chastise him about it in hopes that he'll break.
- But We Used a Condom!: While Ben was drunkenly fumbling to put a condom on before their encounter, he misread Allison's frustrated protest of "Just do it already!" to mean something else entirely.
- Celebrity Paradox:
- Steve Carell appears in the movie as himself. Since one of Carell's most famous roles is The 40-Year-Old Virgin which costarred Seth Rogen, that would suggest that the "real" Seth Rogen exists in this movie's universe.
- Paul Rudd’s character wanting to watch Spider-Man 3 is also this as Rudd and Tobey Maguire starred together in The Cider House Rules. In fact, Maguire’s performance in that movie was why Sam Raimi chose him as his incarnation of Peter Parker.
- Chekhov's Skill: Ben eventually gets around to read the baby books and impresses Allison when she goes in labor and calls for his help.
- Clean, Pretty Childbirth: Played straight; while it does show a crowning vagina twice, no blood or other liquids or solids are shown.
- Cluster F-Bomb:
- Ben's rant at the missing doctor. Just when Allison is going into labor.Ben Stone: Hey, Doc Howard. Ben Stone calling. Guess what the fuck's up? Allison is going into labor, and you are not fucking here. No, you know where you're at? You're at a fucking Bar Mitzvah in San Francisco, you motherfucking piece of shit. And you know what I'm gonna have to do now? I'm going have to kill you. I'm gonna pop a fucking cap in your ass. You're dead! You're Tupac! You are fucking Biggie, you piece of shit! I hope you fucking die or drop the chair and kill that fucking kid! I hope your plane crashes. Peace, fucker!
- The movie has enough F-words to put in a compilation.
- Ben's rant at the missing doctor. Just when Allison is going into labor.
- Coming of Age Story: Ben is almost hopelessly immature in the beginning of the film, but he soon has to face the reality of being a parent.
- Could Say It, But...: Allison clarifying that the producers are asking her to lose weight. "No, no, legally we can't ask you to do that. Just make it... tighter."
- Creative Closing Credits: Baby photos of the cast and crew are shown during the closing credits.
- Dude, Not Funny!: James Franco is less than amused by Allison's vomiting mid-interview.
- Disproportionate Retribution: After keeping the baby's gender under wraps the whole way as Allison requested, Ben purposefully reveals the gender to her during an argument just to stick it to her.Ben: It's a girl, buy some pink shit!
- Dueling Movies: Discussed In-Universe. Ben mentions several movies that came in pairs: Volcano and Dante's Peak, Deep Impact and Armageddon (1998), Wyatt Earp and Tombstone.
- Exact Words: "Just do it already!"
- Fan Disservice: The shot of Ben's uncovered rear end while asleep the morning after his encounter. Allison is so disgusted by this that she jabs the bed with her foot to wake Ben up instead of shaking him awake.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Allison's mother mentions the possibility of abortion, but she decides to bring the baby to term.
- Hollywood Pudgy: In-universe example. When Allison's boss gives her a promotion, he asks her to "tighten up", aka lose weight. Allison is by no means pudgy.
- It's Been Done: Ben and his friends work for months on a website where one could check on celebs to look up movies/shows where they go nude, including the relevant time marks. Then while Ben and Pete are hanging out one day, Pete informs him that there is already such a website.
- It's Not Porn, It's Art: Ben reacts like this to Pete when latter calls his movie-skin website "porn".
- Law of Inverse Fertility: All it takes is a one-night-stand.
- Let's Just Be Friends: Allison suggests this to Ben after their night together.
- Meaningful Name: Ben Stone.
- A Mistake Is Born: Allison gets knocked up after a one-night stand.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Pete. Turns out that he's just been doing things like playing in a fantasy football league or going to the movies alone just to have some time away from Debbie and the kids.
- Mood Whiplash: Purposefully invoked while Ben and a heavily pregnant Alison are trying to have sex. Ben is afraid that he'll hit the baby in the head with his penis, and after convincing her to go doggie-style ("we don't have to go outside or anything") he feels the baby kick his hand and freaks out. All very amusing, but the scene ends with a distraught Alison promising him that he'll never have to do it again.
- Morning Sickness: The vomiting Machete happens while the female lead is conducting an interview with James Franco, who assumes it's a prank.
- Nobody Thinks It Will Work: He's an overweight pothead layabout. She's a hot media figure. They are both the best thing to ever happen to each other.
- No Pregger Sex: Ben has this fear in the middle of doing the deed. That didn't stop him from multiple attempts, of course...
- Pædo Hunt: Debbie uses the internet to locate registered sex offenders in the neighborhood, convinced that they pose a threat.
- Precision F-Strike:
- While the movie has really filthy dialogue, hearing Ryan Seacrest curse in the movie is really surprising.
- Same goes for Pete at one point, who barely curses in the movie.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "My room, your area, stay in your area, stay out of my room, back... the... fuck... off."
- Screaming Birth: Played straight when Allison gives birth.
- Second-Act Breakup. Between Allison and Ben, as she thinks they are not made for another.
- Shiksa Goddess: Allison to Ben.
- Spiritual Successor: Rumor has it that this film became this when scheduling conflicts prevented it from being a direct sequel to the successful Apatow film The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which Rogen had a supporting role in.
- The Stoner: Ben and his roommates spend most of their spare time smoking weed.
- Take That!:
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: A variant involving gynecologists. Allison and Ben are seeing several doctors to find the right one.
- Three-Month-Old Newborn: Attempted aversion/bizarre example: Judd Apatow wanted to shoot an actual birth; Anne Hathaway is said to have turned down the project because of this. Apatow abandoned this plan when he realized that he would need a worker's permit for the unborn child.
- Time-Passage Beard: Martin, due to The Bet. By the length of his beard we can tell how far the pregnancy is.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Subverted; the trailer has a specially-shot alternate take of Alison revealing her pregnancy, which Ben reacts to by shrugging and saying "congratulations," in order to make the Precision F-Strike in the actual scene that much funnier.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife:
- The movie has the chubby Ben Stone who is also being a gigantic loser with no self esteem about his appearance, paired with the conventionally beautiful, confident Katherine Heigl. Most of the characters wonder What Does She See in Him?.
- Also, during the earthquake the schlubby, foul-mouthed Jonah is seen with an attractive girlfriend.
- Viva Las Vegas!: Ben and Peter have a good time there.
- Wannabe Line: The film has something of a deconstruction. Allison and Debbie are trying to have fun for once at a nightclub and the bouncer refuses them entry. Debbie goes on a wicked rant about him not thinking they're "slutty" enough and how pathetic he is. He responds that he hates his job and finds them both immensely attractive, but states that they are still considered too old, and having a pregnant woman (Allison) in the club is preposterous.
- Watch It Stoned: Used in-story when, during their Vegas jaunt, Ben and Pete take psychedelic mushrooms before seeing Cirque du Soleil's Mystère.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: After a night of hard drinking, Ben doesn't remember anything.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Ben gives Allison one of these after her hormones get the best of her and their preceding argument leads to him having to walk three miles to their doctor's appointment.
- Yaoi Fangirl: Fan boy actually. One of Jonah's major complaints about Brokeback Mountain in the deleted scene is the significant lack of graphic sex between the two leads.