Writer-Director Noah Baumbach‘s latest, While We’re Young, stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a married couple that seeks refuge with a younger couple when their friends have a baby. It’s also totally hilarious.
Josh (Stiller) is a documentary filmmaker who also teaches film classes at a continuing education college. His wife, Cornelia (Watts), is a film producer and works with her father, Leslie (Charles Grodin), a successful and critically acclaimed documentarian. Josh and Cornelia are happy with their married, but childless life. When their friends Marina (Maria Dizzia) and Fletcher (Adam Horovitz) have a baby, Josh and Cornelia begin questioning their life decisions. It’s at this time that Josh meets Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), a married couple in their mid-twenties. Jamie is a self-professed fan of Josh’s films and is also interested in becoming a documentarian. Both Josh and Cornelia begin hanging out with Jamie and Darby, trying to tap into their youthful zest for life, while alienating Marina and Fletcher. It’s only when Josh begins helping Jamie with his own documentary that he begins to question the younger man’s motives in seeking him out.
The film is absolutely hilarious. The script is smart and witty, while the characters feel fully formed. You root for Josh, but he’s not always right, which is good – the audience can really take some of the other characters’ viewpoints. That’s the hallmark of a well-written screenplay.
The cast is great in this one. Stiller is really good as he navigates the road of adulthood and balances the struggle of trying to live up to his father in law while serving as a mentor of sorts to Jamie. Watts also does a good job playing between Stiller and Grodin, but I also liked how she gets sucked in with Stiller and isn’t the stereotypical nagging wife. Driver is excellent as he plays his cards close to his chest. You’re never quite sure what his angle is until the movie lets you in on it. Seyfried is good in her role, but I would have liked to have seen more of her. She doesn’t really become integral to the plot until late in the film. Grodin is great as usual and his character also doesn’t play as expected.
While We’re Young is well worth your time if it’s playing in your area. It’s a funny and poignant film that never gets too mushy or full of itself. Check it out.