I predict Ben Stiller will move into the indie universe proper in the coming years. He's criminally underutilised. The story is great and feels open and spritely for the first half. Naomi Watts proves she can throw down some crunk and is a good match for Stiller. It's a brave script and an contemporary twist on aging and the chasm that is the generational divide. 3.5 stars
I kind of liked watching it (it being a Baumbach and all), but I just can't morally give it more than 2 stars because of the harsh and reductionist stereotypes & all the monochrome. The film's message basically seems to boil down to "different generations should not engage with each other & young people are pretty evil-well-not-evil-but-so-far-gone-in-personal-capitalism-that-it's-basically-the-same-thing".
I think all of this "New Yorkian-intellectual-but-still-funny-and-romantic"which started with Woody Allen is coming to an end,it really needs to be criticized and also humiliated,until it becomes a piece of actual art.The whole movie can be summed in a quote from the film itself;"Whats going on?This is like a fucking bad dream.Everyone here is doing weird shit."
Barely 2 stars. Using entitlement as the focus of generational conflict between a 40 something and a 20 something hits pretty low when ALL the characters come from entitlement. Baumbach cannot seem to shake making films about how he feels & just like Driver's character tries to bind the materialistic with the profound. It does gives an awfully smug insight into Baumbach's life. Stop drawing parallels to the classics.
And this is Woody Allen's legacy: a light comedy about New York straight hipsters, with some morality and supposed narrative joy. Shots-reverse shots, fairly presumptuous actors - more the guys -, the eternal banal argumentation about truth and lie, a reasonable accumulation of commonplaces about documentaries and, in the end, a "well spent" Sunday afternoon. Deplorable, as usual in this non-filmmaker.
2.5 I couldn't believe the ending... because it was ridiculous! Could it have really been from the same Baumbach as Frances Ha? I was willing to forgive some missteps after a near perfect beginning, but the ending was irreconcilable. Adam Driver is an excellent pseudo villain and Stiller's character well-developed - a 44 year old who cannot take criticism. Naomi Watts was more interesting and had less screen time.
The dialogue is great, Naomi Watts is bae, the banter between the leads is believable and, in spite of the Netflix, iPhone etc., Baumbach firmly anchors his film in the timeless with its soundtrack. What I wasn't prepared for was the strange turn the film took to prove it's point about youth in today's culture. Kids today...