Picture Ben Stiller in prime slapstick mode. I mean pre-Walter Mitty, devastatingly cringe-worthy, falling off a bike, dancing like a nerd, Meet The Fockers territory. This is what the trailer for While We’re Young leaves an audience expecting.
Thankfully, it was none of these things.
Noah Baumbach’s feature focuses on a couple in their 40s (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts) who find themselves out of step and uninspired by their baby-boasting peer group. Cue an initially life-affirming friendship with charismatic 20-something hipster newlyweds (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) — he directs documentaries, she makes ice cream, they attend street parties and shamanic rituals. Ideal, right?
What unfolds is not necessarily revolutionary but it is the characters, themes, and the humour with which they are drawn that make this film. If you’ve ever been in your 20s, or in your 40s; if you have kids, or never want to; if you’re an artist (successful or unsuccessful); if you find technology terrifying or liberating; if you ever find yourself debating what it means to be authentic in what you say, what you believe, how you work, or, heck, how you live every single day — you will leave this film with a feeling of ironic familiarity and a pocketful of discussion topics to share with friends over a (pop-up) pint.