While We’re Young (2014) Review

Noah Baumbach, the director of While We’re Young is a 45 year old Brooklyn-born director with a catchy eye and attention for comedy, humor, and generating excitement and laughter. His debut release of Kicking and Screaming (1995) launched his career as a screenwriter and director when it hit big at the New York Film Festival, earning him the title of the “New Faces of 1996”. Since then he’s worked avidly in the comedy and drama genres. Since his grand directorial masterpiece The Squid and the Whale (2005) (received six independent Spirit Awards nominations, three Golden Globe nominations as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay), Baumbach has worked with actors like Nicole Kidman, Jack Black, and a whole slew of other big names. His latest release has him as both the writer, producer and director and it has attracted a lot of attention in the media, maybe the cast is just damn good! While We’re Young (2014) is an intricate comedy starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. It was initially screened in the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The story begins when Ben Stiller (Josh) and Naomi Watts (Cornelia) combat their stagnant boring lives with their encounter with the twentysomething hipsters. Ben Stiller’s previous performance in Greenberg (2010) quite possibly have been the reason why he landed this performance; in it, Ben Stiller said:

The thing about you kids is that you're all kind of insensitive. I'm glad I grew up when I did cos your parents were too perfect at parenting- all that baby Mozart and Dan Zanes songs; you're just so sincere and interested in things! There's a confidence in you guys that's horrifying. You're all ADD and carpal tunnel. You wouldn't know Agoraphobia if it bit you in the ass, and it makes you mean. You say things to someone like me who's older and smarter with this light air... I'm freaked out by you kids. I hope I die before I end up meeting one of you in a job interview.

For those who’ve seen Greenberg, you’ll probably think that While We’re Young is a sequel, but it isn’t meant to be! While We’re Young is a thoughtful film that attempts to explain the complicated relationship between Generation X and Generation Y, the baby boomers vs. the millenials. The film is 1 hour and 34 minutes long with an MPAA rating R, and an operating budget of $10 million. Since the weekend of March 29th, it’s had a box office profit of $242,000, not nearly as much as Baumbach had hoped. The film features its own motion picture soundtrack composed by James Murphy (also composed Greenberg).

The film opens with a passage from Henrik Ibsen’s “The Master Builder”, effectively situating and personifying the words that will echo throughout the film: the us (Gen X vs Gen Y). The tone is a little hostile, albeit a generation that exists solely to improve on the previous one before it, and with technology that is significantly better and more improved than anything that existed previously. It’s clear that Baumbach has something to say, but does he say it well? Having befriended Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) who take them on an unforgettable adventure, Josh and Cornelia learn the ways of Gen Y, visiting hip hop classes, checking out thrift shops, changing styles and trying on new things. They become enthralled by Jamie and Darby that they kind of neglect their old friends Fletcher (Adam Horowitz) and Marina (Maria Dizzia). Jamie and Darby are whizzes with technologies, they collect vinyl records, own both old-school manual VHS cassettes and typewriters. Baumbach points to the competencies of both generations, where the limitations are, and what challenges lay before them. In doing so, Baumbach presents a left-wing, but a hopeful thesis combining gentle satire with astute popular culture references that situate Josh and Cornelia in a world of strangeness and discovery, guided by the youthful encouragement of Jamie and Darby, they can experience life again, as if they were young.

While We're Young Trailer

keywords: Margo at The Wedding, Ben Stiller Movie List

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