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An Open Letter to Judd Apatow

Universal

Dear Judd,

Congratulations on "This is 40." It's good. I laughed quite a bit, at many parts. Your daughters are competent actresses. Your wife is exceptional. It seems to be moderately successful at the box office. Overall, job well done.

(Throat clear) That said, it's still way, way, way too long. WAY too long. And here's the frustrating thing: You know it! Why else would you have the title be something so easily made into a joke about the length of the movie by hack film critics? It really, actually is 40 minutes too long. And yet you insist on keeping all of your movies at a robust two-plus hours, as if Gronk-spiking the viewer's patience in his face.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with a sub-120 minute comedy. "Anchorman" is 94 minutes. The heavier "School of Rock" is 104 minutes. Even your "40 Year-Old Virgin" clocked in at under two hours. The fact is, it's hard to sit and watch any movie for more than two hours, let alone a comedy centered around one couple arguing with each other about penis pills and cupcakes.

Sometimes I feel like you intentionally leave your films a bit longer to make the implication that it's more earnest than other similar films, as if a longer film naturally denotes more gravitas than a shorter one - like Pete and Debbie's relationship would be more relatable because we all sat there for the same amount of time it takes to fly from New York to Miami. People see "133 minutes" and say, "Well, I better pee now," not "Aw yeah, papa's about to witness some character depth."

There are definitely scenes you could have cut. What does Debbie and the kids dancing to Nicki Minaj while Pete rocks out to Alice in Chains have anything to do with anything? Debbie owns a boutique now? That's wonderful, but not something I need to at all include in recapping the movie to a friend. Megan Fox gets kind of naked, which, great, but I can also see that by doing a google image search with the SafeSearch off.

Also check out: ‘This Is 40′ Is Too Long But Terribly Funny

Did you just run into old friends at various points and promise them roles? There's like a 68.3% chance this exact exchange happened:

Katherine Heigl and Leslie Mann in "Knocked Up" Universal4

(SCENE: Whole Foods in Brentwood, aisle 3)
JUDD APATOW:
Jason?
JASON SEGEL (looks up): J-Man! How's it going? What are you up to?
APATOW: I'm doing another movie next month, actually, with Rudd and Leslie. Kind of a sequel to Knocked Up.
SEGEL:  Oh wow, that's awesome. Congrats, I'm sure that'll be great.
APATOW: Yeah. What about you?
SEGEL: Actually "How I Met Your Mother" wraps next Wednesday, so. Got nothing going after that, far as I know.
(Extended silence. Segel exhales loudly and claps once.)
APATOW: (awkwardly) I mean I'm sure I could find a role for you. Actually I could just write in your old "Knocked Up" role. You'll be... her trainer now. Sure.
SEGEL:  Oh, perfect. That works out. Well, good to see you.
APATOW: You too!

Even one of your actors mocked how long the movie is, even if he did it in the form of a talking insult comic dog. Triumph spits truths, Judd.

So for the future, in the words of Alan Tudyk's E! producer character in "Knocked Up," lets tighten up a little bit. It will be good for all of us. Unless your next movie is "Braveheart 2: Wallace Returns," it doesn't need to be over two hours. It just doesn't. (NOTE: Please make "Braveheart 2: Wallace Returns" your next movie.)

Still loovvveee yooouu,

Nick

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