Review: WHILE WE’RE YOUNG

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Written and directed by Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha, The Squid and the Whale), this sharp and hilarious comedy examines the pains of approaching mid-life crises and the strain it can put on marriages.  Baumbach’s film has a much lighter tone than some of his other films; but that doesn’t make it any less intelligent than those movies.  Baumbach, like his contemporaries David Gordon Green,Derek Cianfrance, and Richard Linklater, has an immense talent for writing about people and their everyday problems and can do so quite wittily and intellectually that almost all of his audiences can relate and connect with his characters.  Working with talented actors like Ben Stiller, Adam Driver, Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfried  just adds the perfect icing to this delectable and charming comedy.

Stiller and Watts star as Cornelia and Josh, a forty-something married couple who have been struggling with some crises in their life.  Unable to conceive children, the couple can only idly sit and watch as all of their friends and colleagues reproduce and go through the changes that come with parenthood. Hoping to put a more positive spin on their situation, Cornelia and Josh decide to stop hanging around people their own age and begin to mix it up with a younger crowd.  Enter Jamie (Driver) and Darby (Seyfried), a twenty-something hipster couple that reinvigorates the social life of Josh and Cornelia. As they begin to adopt the nearly carefree, hipster lifestyle of their new and younger friends, Josh and Cornelia’s older and probably wiser friends Fletcher (Adam Horowitz) and Marina (Maria Dizzia) watch rather bewildered and concerned that their once close friends are fooling themselves.

The mixture of spot-on humor and the superb comic timing of the actors really make this movie not one to miss. This latest film by Baumbach is actually a tad more accessible to broader audiences than say Frances Ha.  I’d hate to call this a more mainstream Noah Baumbach film without implying that the writer/director is trying to achieve mass appeal because that doesn’t really seem to be the case.  He simply takes a slightly simpler approach and the material never gets overly dark.  A good majority of the jokes and gags work, especially the fun, but never insulting, jabs at modern hipsters. Austinites who have witnessed the growth of this community in town will most certainly appreciate and chuckle heartily at these moments.

I have to take a moment to praise the performance of Adam Driver who, I feel is the stand-out star of this film.  He owns and perfectly nails this role.  The man has exceptional comic timing, charisma, and a natural ability to flesh out his characters.  These talents come into play in a major way in this film.  So far, I have enjoyed every performance of his that I have seen, but in my opinion, his work in this movie has been his finest so far.

As for the movie as a whole, it may not be the finest work by Noah Baumbach, but it is still pretty damn good. Baumbach’s films serve as windows into the souls of real people and their personalities and lives.  His writing marriages humor, drama, and everything else that comes with life.  While We’re Young probably is Baumbach’s most humorous movie to date because it always encourages the audience to laugh at the silly ways people often behave and humor is often the best way to learn from our ridiculousness.

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