I am a pretty big Ben Stiller fan. I enjoy most of his comedies and I enjoy most of his dramas. The Museum movies I have enjoyed several times, as well as Mystery Men and Something About Mary. I was one of few people it seems that enjoyed Walter Mitty, let alone watched it multiple times. Along came Polly cracks me up. And I love the Madagascar series. However, there are a few like Tropic Thunder and Zoolander that just do not leave me desiring to watch it again… ever.
So skimming through new releases I find While We’re Young and seeing that Naomi Watts played his wife in the film, I was pretty excited to rent it.
I expected a low key and quirky movie, like my vague memories of The Royal Tenebaums, not a fav. Since it’s advertised as comedy drama, I was hoping more for something like Something About Mary, but with more serious aspects. What I got was nothing shy of disappointing.
Josh (Stiller) is a documentary maker… or was… and is a professor. He made a good film years before, but he’s been making his current one for ten years.
Cornelia (Watts) is his loving and supportive wife that he doesn’t allow to work with him.
She is a producer and her father is the Leslie Breitbart; famous documentary creator.
Leslie Breitbart is played by Charles Grodin. He is seen in many films, but seldom takes a lead in anything. However, he is an actor in one of my favorite movies: Heart and Souls.
Josh and Cornelia are in a rut. They have no children due to miscarriages. Their fixated on their careers, though they don’t seem to be going anywhere. They aren’t connecting with their friends because they now have a baby.
Then we have Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried [Mama Mia fan here!]) that enter the film. They are a young couple that are free spirits… key word is YOUNG. They live in clutter. Their life is clutter. He is a film maker. She is an ice cream maker and creator. They observe one of Josh’s classes, begin talking to him, invite Josh to dinner, and then begin to become friends. Jamie and Darby live a life that is carefree and expressive and Josh and Cornelia begin to covet that life.
They begin to spend more and more time together. Josh and Cornelia begin to loosen up, change their clothing style. They start thinking about things differently. They try new things: hip hop exercise, bike riding…
and even drugs. Yes drugs. Drugs that lead to Egyptian hallucinations and a puking party. [WOW! so not needed and doesn’t make any sense at all.] By the time that scene came around, though, I was already disappointed in the film with it’s also unnecessary profanity and endless and pointless unraveling. It was like the film was in one big knot, like Cobbles knot, and it was being unwound and pulled apart like Maniac Magee is going to town on it. (A book reference to a children’s novel that I teach with.) The thing is, Magee makes his knot unfold into a single string. This film never seems to get un-knotted, but rather more tangled, messy, and distracted.
Watching this film, I figured out quickly the outcome. However, it often seemed as if the writer had a beginning and end of a movie that took 2 pages of script, so they added 25 more pages on of nonsense to go trough to get to the end.
One thing that I expected to happen was for Josh and Cornelia to split for good and be apart. I think this is because their chemistry just was not there. I could not buy them as a couple; they never seemed comfortable with one another.
In the end you figure out there in a scam going on. It’s pretty obvious, in my opinion, when it is first introduced; however, the film unravels this portion of the movie as if it is some big amazing revelation and we will be shocked.
In Matthew 16:26 Jesus asks, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Well, in this case he’ll become miserable.
Josh and Cornelia are focused on one thing, living in the world and experiencing all the nonsense it offers up. They are miserable.
The only bright moment to the film was the very last minute of the film. You saw a little hope when the two of them started to make different decisions… then the film stops.
I felt like this film was longer than it needed to be. I seemed like I simply aged through it as it went on and on and on. It had some neat ideas and a good cast; nothing worked in it, though. It was simply irritating.
Not the worst film I have ever seen; but a 2 is the highest I can give it.