Swens N’ Dobs// The Young and the Restless

This week we review While We’re Young, a new film from director Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha and The Squid and the Whale), starring Naomi Watts (Birdman and The Impossible), Ben Stiller (Zoolander and Dodgeball), Adam Driver (“Girls” and Star Wars: Episode VII) and Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls and Mamma Mia). While We’re Young is currently showing in theaters.

Swenson:
I actually don’t have much to say about While We’re Young because I thought it was a pretty horrible film. By the end, it is hard to like any of the characters, and there really isn’t any resolution to the conflict. This movie basically tells the story of a married couple in their 40s who meet a married couple in their 20s. Neither couple has children, and they begin to bond. The couple in their 40s starts to experience a midlife crisis-kind of ordeal and end up hanging out with much younger people. They go to an ayahuasca ceremony, start wearing trendy and hip clothes, and even push away their previous friends. While this concept is all well and good, it is not particularly interesting. In fact, there were countless times throughout the movie where I would cringe because of how uncomfortable or stupid the movie was. Ultimately the film veers a bit and introduces a conflict over the nature of a documentary. Overall, I believe that Baumbach was trying to use this film as a commentary on age, experience and point of view, but it ends up being a pointless exercise. While many of the stereotypical people portrayed in the film are in fact accurate, they hardly represent even a fraction of what is out there. I would advise you to skip this movie, regardless of whether you have to pay for it or if it is free. Fortunately, summer is coming, and with it a lot of new and exciting movies.

Dobscha: I have to agree with Sam on this one. While I usually respect films that attempt to portray “reality” with unflinching criticism, While We’re Young failed to do anything other than depress and frustrate me. Its characters were stereotypical and impossible to like, the plot dragged from one mistake to another, and I left the theater feeling pessimistic about love and life. Adam Driver has so much charisma that I really want to like him as an actor, but he keeps playing the same character again and again, merely adding or subtracting doses of evil. Amanda Seyfried is unnecessary, Ben Still annoying and Naomi Watts a bore. In some ways the movie reminded me a little of the wonderful Birdman—both tackle truth, art and entertainment, the struggle to maintain artistic integrity in a phony world. While We’re Young presents these problems but handles them carelessly, without gravity or joy. Watch Birdman instead.