My exact thoughts as I waited for this indie dramedy to end.
A middle-aged couple’s career and marriage are overturned when a disarming young couple enters their lives.
Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts do their best but it just didn’t hit the mark for me. The endless praise certainly piqued my interest. A shame that it just couldn’t deliver.
I feared the worst from the opening scene in which we have an extract from Ibsen’s The Master Builder. A scene that commented on the ever-growing invasion and domination of youth. Slow and a little pretentious.
I could see what writer/director Noah Baumbach was trying to do with the film but I still couldn’t fight my disappointment.
We join Josh (Stiller) and Cornelia (Watts) as they battle being middle-aged while their friends are settling down and having babies.
The opening 15 minutes was easy going enough. Stiller and Watts had good chemistry. Their difficulty in dealing with a baby demonstrated the spanner in their supposedly well-oiled machine.
I didn’t mind sitting back and examining a normal relationship as Stiller and Watts confront their issues but I just wanted more.
Stiller can act and I have desperately prayed for a better project to come along. While We’re Young may be a mixed bag but it showed what Stiller can do when he’s not running around museums or strutting down walkways.
Things took a slightly more interesting turn with the introduction of Adam Driver. Amanda Seyfried’s character barely made an impression. A nothingy role. I think her only real contribution worth noting was when she took a confused Watts to a hip hop class.
Driver certainly got things moving. The problem was that I always had an inkling that his intentions were not what they seemed. Probing Stiller for information under the persona of a fan boy. Playing to his ego with endless brown nosing and slick charm.
It was interesting in parts to witness this young couple transform this “old” couple. A catalyst that sparked the life back into their humdrum lifestyle. The trilby hats, the gigs, the shoes with no socks fad. Spot on.
The whole battle and jealousy of youth debacle had its moments. The fact that youngsters like myself have a niche for all things retro and vintage was a valid observation.
Stiller’s culture clash with Driver and his hipsters about a 70s cartoon that he grew up with sparked an interesting debate. Loving something just because it’s old. Not even knowing the story or the character.
I can’t really say this is a comedy. There were moments but the tone was a little uneven for me.
I don’t think Baumbach knew which direction to take the film. It went from painfully deadpan with Stiller uncovering a film conspiracy that challenged the very ethics of filmmaking to just plain bizarre.
Not enough consistency for me. The sequence in which Watts and Stiller join the youngsters for a weekend retreat to drink some liquid and vom up some “demons” while listening to Vangelis may sound funny but it was just plain weird.
Everyone standing around chatting while casually throwing up in their designated buckets just didn’t do it for me. Was Baumbach trying to throw in a gag that was more befitting of Stiller’s familiar humour?
Charles Grodin is getting old. Long are the days since Midnight Express. Hell even Harry and the Hendersons or Beethoven, shudder.
He played Josh’s father-in-law well. I just wish their fractious relationship was explored a little more. There were some good insights but I wanted more conflict and some sort of progress.
And that was the main issue for me in general. The film had likeable characters that I wanted to see more done with.
There was an interesting revelation with Cornelia in which she suffered a miscarriage. I wanted more time focused on that.
It wasn’t until the closing moments that it was really dealt with. I understand that in real life with an ordeal like that, a lot of people sweep it under the carpet or act like nothing happened. BUT when you’re watching a drama, you want . . . a little drama!
The ending was abrupt and a little weak after things finally seem to come to a head. The closing shot was humorous. A perfect statement of what is happening with the youth of today.
Shame, it just wasn’t that interesting. Too long, too talky and not much going on.
Two stars for the two talented leads.