WHILE WE’RE YOUNG (Noah Baumbach). 97 minutes. Opens Friday (April 3). Rating: NNNN
Where to watch: Netflix, iTunes
After the more experimental Frances Ha, Noah Baumbach‘s While We’re Young finds the writer/director synthesizing his earlier observational comedies with his later, crueller character studies of self-destructive intellectuals.
Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are Josh and Cornelia, middle-aged Brooklynites whose marriage is invigorated by their friendship with Jamie (Adam Driver, who had a small role in Frances Ha) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), a hipster couple in their 20s.
Driver’s unpredictable energy bounces off Stiller’s assorted neuroses in unexpected ways, while Watts and Seyfried develop their own dynamic in the background. There’s enough going on between them that I’m hoping Baumbach releases a companion piece that follows Cornelia and Darby’s adventures in the city while Josh and Jamie are off looking at hats.
You can wonder whether the story was inspired by the filmmaker’s real-life relationship with the younger Greta Gerwig – or, as some New York cineastes have insinuated, by the career arc of indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg, with whom Gerwig made several features.
But it’s unlikely that reality ever took the turns this film does in its third act, when While We’re Young becomes a strange spiritual cousin to Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler while still somehow staying funny.
Win a Simple Three Classic Beach Cruiser Bicycle to celebrate the release of While We’re Young here!