REVIEW — “While We’re Young”
“While We’re Young” is equal parts comedy and drama. It’s like a coming of age story, but for adults. The subject material, a man spending years and years of his life lost in his efforts to create films and live up to his father-in-law’s expectations, mirrors that of the director, Noah Baumbach. You get a real sense that this story is told from experience, and that really helps us connect with the characters.
The cast is exceptional in this with Ben Stiller leading the pack. He is, surprisingly, a diverse actor that is capable of melding into different genres, and is able to express various ranges of emotions. It helps that his wife is played by the exceptionally talented Naomi Watts, and the two had surprising chemistry. Adam Driver, an up-and-comer from “Girls” and the upcoming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” really steals the show. He has such a vibrant personality, and immediately makes you like him. His wife is played by Amanda Seyfried, who manages to annoy me in every role she is in. However, this time around I found her to be quite tolerable, and really want to try the hippie ice cream she makes.
The story itself is pretty entertaining. We get to see a couple have an identity crisis between who they were, and who they’re becoming after meeting a younger couple. The dynamic between the older couple, and their normal older friends, and the younger couple is really intriguing, and they make the most out of every encounter. It’s pretty funny watching Naomi try to hip-hop dance, and seeing Stiller go full hipster. However, towards the third act we get a complete tonal shift, and things go from light and fluffy to depressing, moody, and somehow vengeful. We go from coming-of-age story to a bitter man trying to sabotage someone else, and it’s completely out of character and clashes with the rest of the film.
The weak finale with the unnecessary and uncharacteristic tonal shift ruin what could have been an excellent movie with an incredible cast. This is no fault of the stars, as they handle their ever evolving roles well, but Noah Baumbach tried to have his cake, and eat it to, and ends up falling flat. As a whole this is still an interesting film that takes a look at the differences between generations, but its failure to maintain itself from start to finish inhibits its potential for repeat viewings. 3.5/5