There were points during Judd Apatow's brutal dramedy This is 40 where it was easy to laugh, where real life woes were mined to biting comedic effect and the barbs were traded without incident. For all of these honest, funny points, there seemed to be just as many scenes I had trouble digesting, where I felt like I was trying to convince myself that something redeeming was happening on screen. This is 40 is a tonally imbalanced piece of work with unclear motivations and characters who are frequently hard to sympathize with. The film technically stands as a "sort of sequel" to surprise hit Knocked Up in that it focuses on the family of the Katherine Heigl character's sister, all of whom served comfortably as supporting characters in that film. While thankfully Heigl and Seth Rogen's couple do not make an appearance in 40, at times we wish they did merely to break up the wearisome, often awkward time spent with Pete and Debbie, our struggling couple.