The Sabbatical is a film that is rightfully described as being a "mid-life comedy." James Pittman's one year sabbatical is anything other than rest and relaxation, since he practically blackmailed by his dean to public a new photography book, if he expects to keep his job at the university. On top of that, his wife Jillian is barely acknowledging his existence, as she focuses on her own career. This results in James entering into somewhat of a midlife crisis, which is highlighted by his unlikely friendship with the much younger Lucy.
The Sabbatical is a comedy that plays things relatively safe. The film has a very sitcom-like brand of humour, which is perfectly watchable, yet not entirely all that compelling. That's not to say there is anything all that wrong with The Sabbatical, it's just that comes off as somewhat bland. While James is indeed going through a midlife crisis, the film seems to be taking place in a world, where everyone seems to have an "aw shucks" responses to James' predicament. Particularly unrealistic is James' wife Jillian, who doesn't seem concerned at all that her husband is hanging out with a twenty-something redhead. Altogether, The Sabbatical is a film for people who like bland, middle of the road comedies.