“I Like Spiderman” from “Knocked Up” (2007) scr./dir. Judd Apatow

This is one of the most realistic scenes of marriage malaise I’ve ever seen. And not because it involves any of the parties doing anything heinous, like starting an affair, or gambling away the family fortune, or becoming a porn, booze, or drug addict.

No, what starts this crisis is the husband making unexplained disappearances … to spend time by himself because he needs a break. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. Except for the fact that his wife needs a break too. And maybe … actually wants to have a break where she spends time with her husband. On the surface, the husband’s desire to see “Spiderman 3” by himself doesn’t seem like a big deal. And that’s sort of correct. But the wife’s reaction … and the knowledge that her husband wants to spend time away from her … is not wrong either. Leslie Mann’s pained reaction to her husband’s actions breaks my heart every time I see it. Key line: “You just think because you don’t yell that you’re not mean.”

By the way, if you can get the accompanying clip to work, more power to you. I can’t find this clip anywhere else and I can only get the clip to work on my phone. So, that’s why I’ve included a transcript of the scene below:

Pete: It’s just that I know you’ve been mad ’cause I’ve been working so much, and I didn’t want to upset you.
Debbie: I wouldn’t be mad. I don’t get mad.
Pet: It’s a fantasy baseball draft. I’m not cheating or anything.
Debbie: No, this is worse.
Pete: How is this worse?
Debbie: This is you wanting to be with your friends more than your family.
Pete: Look, the reason I make that up is because if I told you what I was really doing, you would just get mad. So you think I’m seeing a band, I do my fantasy draft, and it’s win-win.
Debbie: Well, what’d you do last Wednesday night when you said you went to see a band?
Pete: I went to the movies.
Debbie: With who?
Pete: By myself.
Debbie: What’d you see?
Pete: Spider-Man 3.
Debbie: Why do you want to go by yourself? Why didn’t you ask me to go?
Pete: Because I needed to get away, you know. With work and you and the kids, sometimes I just need some time to myself.
Debbie: I need time for myself. I want time for myself, too. You’re not the only one.
Pete: It’s not that big of a deal.
Debbie: I like Spider-Man.
Pete: Okay, so let’s see Spider-Man 3 next week.
Debbie: I don’t wanna go see it now. I don’t wanna have to ask you to ask me. I want you to just come up with it on your own.
Pete: I don’t even know what to say. What do you want me to do?
Debbie: You just think because you don’t yell that you’re not mean, but this is mean.
Pete: I’m not being mean. I’m being honest. You’re telling me I need to be honest.
Debbie: No, you’re not. You’re lying.
Pete: I’m doing it because I need to keep my sanity a little bit.
Debbie: You know what? I don’t want you at the house anymore, okay?

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