Old Stiller stuck in a rut as he fails to scale heights
Josh Srebnick (Ben Stiller) is a talented filmmaker, who cannot muster the energy or enthusiasm to complete a documentary that has consumed the past 10 years of his life.
He is stuck in a rut with his wife Cornelia (Naomi Watts), who offers support when she isn’t producing the pictures of her father, the legendary director Leslie Breitbart (Charles Grodin).
When Josh finally musters the courage to show his father-in-law a shambolic rough cut of his unfinished documentary, Leslie’s fair criticism cuts deep.
“You just showed me a six and a half hour film that feels seven hours too long,” observes the wily old coot.
At a trim 97 minutes, While We’re Young certainly doesn’t outstay its welcome.
Stiller and Watts are an attractive pairing, verbally sparring with each other including a trippy shamanic vomiting ritual that culminates in an unfortunate kiss.
Baumbach’s film gradually runs out of steam and a protracted final sequence at an awards ceremony doesn’t provide either the closure or crescendo that we crave.
Life is full of disappointments and in some respects, While We’re Young is one.
Star rating: 6/10