Release Date: March 27, 2015
Director: Noah Baumbach
Writer: Noah Baumbach
Cast: Naomi Watts, Ben Stiller, Maria Dizzia, Adam Horovitz, Matthew Maher, Peter Yarrow, Bonnie Kaufman, Hector Otero, Deborah Eisenberg, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried, Dree Hemingway, Matthew Shear, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Annie Baker, James Manzello, Laura Hankins, Stoddard Blackall
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 97 minutes
Production Company: Scott Rudin Productions, A24
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Ben Stiller maintains a healthy balance bouncing back and forth between comedies, dramas, and a marriage between the two. It’s difficult to determine which genre he’s more successful in, depending on personal preference or the goals set by the studio or himself. While all of his films may not be commercial or financial juggernauts, they still entertain me, to say the least. With Mr. Stiller being the lead character in While We’re Young, I did enjoy his performance and sections of the piece; but overall, he delivers another credible performance surrounded by mediocrity.
Initially, it didn’t feel like a movie, a play, or some script put together by one or a few. It felt like real life. Characters bounce off one another in a realistic world, and the audience is just lucky enough to witness their lives. I could relate to a character or imagine myself in their shoes, with their past, present, and future in the next ten to twenty years. The comedic timing is great, and the dialogue is interesting and engaging.
The story revolves around two couples dividing their time with each other, getting a taste of a different world, and breaking their daily routines. What I found peculiar was that the younger couple focuses more on the past while the older couple is more invested in the present. This dynamic, besides a few other troupes, is what drew me in keeping my attention.
All good things must come to an end—in the context of this movie, this is the definition of premature. I realized that I’d already seen this whole movie in the trailers, and there was nothing left to witness. After the first act, I’m not sure what was going on because half of the characters I became fond of disappear without a trace within thirty minutes. It was an uncomfortable feeling being left without a goodbye. Prior to this, the plot serves a purpose. Then, it begins to run in circles until a respectful runtime of ninety minutes is reached. There is no point left to be made by the plot, and anything left is predictable and dry, or in other words, a daunting bore.
The part of the plot begging for forgiveness is the second act, being as bland as it can be. Stiller’s character becomes jealous of someone younger than he is, and he becomes a person that I or the audience couldn’t root for. I ended up not caring about the outcome, which is unfortunate, because I did in the beginning. Such an imbalance towards the middle shifted my perspective from caring about the characters to staring into space in a short time span. This wasn’t for me, to say the least, being in too many places at once.
In this movie, good characters become unlikeable, and the despicable ones rise up to the occasion. In short, I’ll pass.