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While We’re Young

Year: 2014
Production Co: Scott Rudin Productions
Director: Noah Baumbach
Producer: Noah Baumbach/Scott Rudin
Writer: Noah Baumbach
Cast: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried, Charles Grodin

Like the bastard love child of Woody Allen and Wes Anderson, you know exactly where you are in a Noah Baumbach film, from the alt-New York locales to the first world problems of growing up (and old).

Cornelia (Naomi Watts) and Josh (Ben Stiller) are sure they're happy in their lives – childless, working in cool jobs in the film industry and with the kind of freedom they're sure their contemporaries only dream about.

That is until they meet Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), a young married couple who ride bicycles, have a record collection and live such a shabby-chic life Josh is immediately smitten with what they represent.

He starts wearing a fedora and riding a bike, drinking in seedy bars and attending outdoor barbecue parties, not quite understanding why they're giving him such renewed zest for life.

But the closer the two pairs grow, the more the cracks show in Josh and Cornelia's relationship. They might want kids even though they've faced difficulties and decided not to. Josh might not be a creative perfectionist after all – he might not have finished the documentary he's been working on for years simply because he's incapable of completing it.

After a while the story has to go somewhere and it involves Cornelia's father, respected documentarian Leslie (Charles Grodin), an ulterior motive behind Jamie's hand of friendship and a tantric sex, drug and vomit therapy party to shake up Josh and Cornelia's world more than they could have imagined it needed.

Ben Stiller can do this kind of thing blindfolded. For all the films about love in New York that try unconsciously to cast a shadow over Woody Allen's early oeuvre, Stiller is the most obvious successor to the style – playing as he does here a nervy man embarrassed by his anger at the world and who dislikes and mistrusts most of the things in it – including himself.

Driver plays the same urban-poverty cool he played in Girls, Seyfried kind of drifts throughout the background, but its Watts who slides into another character that she makes her own and which is pretty different to anything that's come before.

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