While We're Young Movie Review
Critics love them some Noah Baumbach, and so critics are getting a little too excited if you know what I mean at the very thought of a new Noah Baumbach movie. That movie, While We’re Young, stars Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried, and it’s worth getting into that awkward too-excited-to-stand-up-at-the-end-class situation.
I’m not a huge Baumbach fan myself. The Squid and the Whale was great, and Frances Ha was certainly fine, if not extremely overrated. But Greenberg? No thanks. Margot at the Wedding? Meh. Thankfully, While We’re Young is by far the director’s most accessible film to date, a coming-of-age comedy about a couple who are well past coming-of-age sagas combined with a good twist and a strong screenplay.
Stiller plays struggling documentarian Josh whose life changes course when he meets the young, seemingly carefree and uber-hipster couple Jamie and Darby (Driver and Seyfried). Still childless past the age of 40 and oppressed by their group of friends, who are most certainly not childless, Josh and wife Cornelia (Watts) revel in their newfound and much younger friends.
All of the actors deliver strong performances, but Stiller and Watts are especially good as adults who aren’t ready to be old, boring, or the worst combination of the two: parents. The two have surprisingly great chemistry.
But it’s Baumbach’s screenplay that really fires on all cylinders. Full of rich, fascinating characters and a complex web of interrelationship dynamics that both heightens your connection with each of them and adds to the film’s depth, the screenplay would be award-worthy if the movie weren’t being released in April and likely soon to be completely forgotten.
The movie’s twist, or revelation, part way through also adds to the entertainment factor--it’s an unexpected turn not just in the story but for the tone of the movie overall, a satisfyingly unpredictable injection into what otherwise could have ended up being a good but ultimately rote indie dramedy.
While We’re Young isn’t the best movie you’ll see all year, but with good acting and a great screenplay, it’s Noah Baumbach’s most accessible movie to date, and arguably his most entertaining
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.