'40 Is The New 20' less than a 10

LIZ BRAUN - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 6:08 AM ET

40 is the New 20 is a weird cinematic hybrid.

It starts off as a dark comedy about adult relationships and then just turns plain dark, moving from dull to creepy in a trice.

Pat Mastroianni stars as Gary and Bruce Dinsmore is Simon, buddies who work and golf together and talk about women.

Gary would really like to have a reasonable relationship with a woman, whereas Simon is a pig; Simon's character is a comic stereotype who talks about porn sites and prostitutes and does everything but oink.

On a high school nostalgia site, Gary sees his old teenage sweetheart, Jennifer (Claudia Ferri). They get together after having not seen each other for 20 years, and Gary finds himself attracted to his old flame.

Jennifer ends up coming to work in Gary's office.

Meanwhile, in the same way that Gary and Simon talk about women, Jennifer and her friend Cindy (Diana Lewis) get together to talk about men and relationships. Cindy has been married to the same guy forever, so she talks about commitment. Jennifer has raised a son on her own. He's a young adult now, and having done the maternal heavy lifting, she feels ready for a romantic relationship.

She wants "to feel butterflies" in some romantic fantasy, and despite Cindy's misgivings, Jennifer decides to look for dates on the web, placing singles ads and the whole bit.

Sadly, hovering in the background is Gary, who can't quite believe that Jennifer doesn't want to get back with him. He really wants them to become a couple again, but Jennifer doesn't feel the chemistry.

On a day when Jennifer tells him to back off in public so they're not mistaken for a couple, Gary decides to insinuate himself into her private life. He figures he'll just give Jennifer time to come to her senses and see it's him she wants.

Gary is massively creepy.

To worm his way into her affairs, Gary begins messing with Jennifer's cell phone and her work computer so that he has access to her private life -- and control over it.

Calls are blocked, e-mails are deleted. Jennifer becomes increasingly dismayed by her apparent bad luck with men.

40 is the New 20 has the look and smell of a TV movie.

Too bad.

There's a fair amount of fluff in the film, but the odd pearl of wisdom is in there, too.

Jennifer's inability to compromise is admirable, but the inside joke appears to be that looking 20 -- when you're 40 -- doesn't mean you can also think as if you were still 20.

Jennifer is grown up. The men around her are not.

No matter how young she might look, Jennifer's no longer willing to settle for what she describes as the "photocopy of a relationship," which might have been enough for her 20 years ago.

Men, take note.

(This film is rated 14-A)


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