While We're Young
Noah Baumbach writes and directs smart and smartly observed small but meaningful films (Margot at the Wedding, The Squid and the Whale). His latest, While We're Young, is the story of a stagnating middle-aged New York couple, Josh and Cornelia (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts), who meet a vivacious younger couple, Jamie and Darby, (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) whose lives seem to be embodiments of the older couple's fears and regrets. Alienated from their birthing peers, Josh and Cornelia gravitate toward the younger, childless pair and find themselves in hip-hop aerobics, bicycling and exploring abandoned subway lines -- and loving every exhausting moment. Josh and Jamie are both documentary filmmakers, though Josh appears blocked while Jamie has no off switch or internal edit. They seem to speak a common language and draw energy from one another. The early symbiotic relationship between them eventually, as they tend to do in film, takes on parasitic properties that reveal much about Josh and Cornelia's relationship with one another and the world they thought they knew. Stiller, a spotty actor at best, gives a winning performance here and is matched by Driver's truly disconcerting affability. The film is funny and insightful, especially for those of us on the other side of youthfulness.