This Is 40, Judd Apatow's latest directorial effort, warns audiences about the dangers of blinking, meaning if you close your eyes you risk waking up decades later, wondering how you got to be so darn old. In a more literal sense, I did blink while watching the film. In fact, I full-on closed my eyes at the sight of Paul Rudd spread eagle with nothing but a strategically place hand mirror covering his man parts; I cringed while Pete (Rudd) and his wife, Debbie (Leslie Mann), screamed at each other for the umpteenth time; I yawned, I scoffed, but as with most of Apatow's projects, I also laughed and related to the conflicted characters.
This movie is billed as the "sort-of sequel" to Knocked Up, but it's more like a spin-off, centring completely on Pete and Debbie's clan five years later. The kids (played by Apatow and Mann's real-life children, Maude and Iris Apatow), are growing up and acting out — if watching unhealthy amounts of Lost qualifies as acting out — and the whole family is hitting a palpable rough patch. The film's unflinching honesty about shifting family dynamics is one of its strengths, but it's also undoubtedly uncomfortable to watch as resentment curdles and touches every aspect of the characters' lives. To find out what else I thought, just keep reading.