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'This Is 40'
Release date: December 21
Why it's anticipated: With his 2009 Adam Sandler-starrer "Funny People" going on to mixed critical reviews and a lackluster box-office performance, writer/director Judd Apatow is looking to reclaim his status as the king of character-based, audience-pleasing comedy with "This Is 40." Starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann as Pete and Debbie - a married couple first introduced in 2007's "Knocked Up" - the film centers on the central duo's struggle to confront the realities of middle age as they cross the titular threshold. While the Apatow brand has arguably withered a bit in recent years (for every "Bridesmaids" there are twice as many "Wanderlust"s and "Five-Year Engagement"s) , the multi-hyphenate's name still carries quite a bit of heft - and with "This Is 40" serving as his first directorial effort in more than three years, audiences are bound to take notice.
- Chris Eggertsen