- September 8, 2013
The new film, "While We're Young," tries to be a philosophical commentary on aging yuppies seeking a niche. It's an interesting concept but the story is muddled with such misguided musings, it veers off course.
Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are a childless married couple living in New York City. He's a documentary filmmaker who's stuck on a 10 year project and she's a producer at times. Her father (Charles Grodin) is a celebrated documentarian which provides all sorts of Oedipal speculations but director/writer Noah Bambach opts not to go there. Perhaps, he should have.
When Josh and Cornelia hook up with a young couple, Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), they become enamored by their throwback life style. It also doesn't hurt that Jamie is an aspiring documentarian and loves Josh's early work. So Josh picks up the tabs and Jamie never bats an eye. But soon Josh begins to smell a rat and the stench becomes overwhelming.
Meanwhile, Josh and Cornelia have, for all intents and purposes, dumped their old friends who seem to be overly doting parents. But as their new hip buddies turn out to be frauds, they're forced to re-examine their priorities and direction in life.
"While We're Young" provokes a few giggles but most of them can be found in the trailers. Baumbach ("The Squid and the Whale") allows Stiller to go Woody Allen with his character but it doesn't fly. The script just isn't witty enough. Even a strong cast can't right this silly sinking ship.
When the storyline references Josh and Cornelia's failed attempts at having children, it takes on weight. And in the end (you can sense it coming throughout the film) the two attempt to embark upon a life changing endeavor. But is it thwarted while sitting in an airport watching a two-year-old mastering his smartphone? You get to be the judge.