Thoughts on "While We're Young"
The new Noah Baumbach movie. I liked it but had a lot of critical thoughts anyway. Opinions expressed are my own and not those of The List App.
- •In certain comedies, there can be an uncanny valley between realism and satire.The latter can be extremely satisfying when it hits; but if it isn't an invisible departure from the realism, it's stressful and uncomfortable for the viewer to readjust. "Oh, right, we're in a comedy, these are just jokes."
- •Noah Baumbach's obsession with youth in his characters' dialogue and with his own casting are a little too close for comfort.He is wonderfully articulate at expressing the anxieties of getting older and worshipping youth, here and in Greenberg; but his casting choices, even of unnecessarily luminous one-line day players, indicate someone who is simultaneously living this anxiety. It strikes me as Manhattan-era Woody Allen with more self-aware restraint.
- •Amanda Seyfried is great on camera.Here and in Mean Girls, she seems completely in the moment and game for anything, in a way that reminds me of what's good about Jennifer Lawrence
- •Adam Driver and Ben Stiller have a similar unusual trait as actorsThey have many scenes together, and they are both great, and Adam Driver in particular is one of the most inspiring actors alive in my opinion. That said, they each have a similar trait that bothers me: they make great choices... but about 10% of the time you can see them making choices. You shouldn't be able to see a great actor making choices. This is not that common a trait among actors; perhaps Baumbach chose them because he, too, has this trait, as a filmmaker.
- •The comedic storyline of Stiller's character's old, intellectual, boring, Jewish documentary subject is literally lifted from Crimes and Misdemeanors, right?
- •Funniest line: Stiller's character asks a shallow film financier to guess what percentage of African American males are in prison. Stiller intends to shock the guy by revealing it's 9%. The guy's guess: "60%."Laughed out loud for a while.