While We’re Young. Hip To Be Square.

OnlineQuad_WhileWereYoungAhh, The Hipster.  Native resident of grittily urban areas undergoing economic regeneration, mostly found congregating in great numbers around vinyl disc emporiums. Skinny of leg with exuberant plumage on chin.  May be omnivorous or vegetarian but will only consume produce labelled ‘organic’ and/or ‘artisan’, preferably grown in lay-by off M25. Now marvellously satirised in Noah Baumbach’s tremendous While We’re Young.

Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are a childless 40-something couple with increasingly little in common with their friends who all have kids. Josh, a documentary filmmaker, finds himself waylaid after a class one day by effortlessly cool young couple Jamie (Adam Driver), a wannabe filmmaker, and his wife Darby (Amanda Seyfried), who are keen to chat.

Flattered by the attention and energised by their enthusiasm, Josh is soon arranging subsequent meet ups with Adam. Then buys a pork pie hat, like Adam. Then ditches public transport to wobble unsteadily down the road on a bike, after Adam. Initially sceptical, Cornelia too soon becomes sucked in, persuaded to join Darby in a Hip Hop dance class (note to aging self: few things are less dignified than a 40-something ‘busting a move’).

Inevitably, their new found BFFs start attracting scepticism from peers of their own age. And after a while, Josh and Cornelia themselves start to question whether there may be ulterior motives behind Jamie and Darby’s attentions. But not before a marvellous succession of events that gently and hilariously mock the narcissistic, self-conscious world of The Hipster and raise questions about what people really want out of life.

The Sloth was lucky enough to attend a preview screening introduced by director Noah Baumbach, in which he described his own awareness of getting older, of recalling something that had ‘just happened’ only to realise it was years before, and wanting to make a film that captured both this and thoughts about relationships he had gathered over time. While We’re Young achieves all this brilliantly. Both timely and timeless, every laugh is spiked with the prick of truth. It feels like an instant classic – don’t miss it.

UK release 3 April 2015

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

What If. Friends Without Benefits.

What-If-posterWe hate rom coms. They make us want to stick forks in our eyes and run screaming for the nearest Terminator box set. But, because we are dutiful and honorable Sloth, we put personal suffering to one side and committed ourselves to What If.

90 minutes later we still had our sight. So by normal reckoning it was therefore fabulous and you should go see it pronto.  What?  You want more?  Grrr.

Wallace (Daniel Racfliffe, sadly without a canine sidekick called Gromit), is a bit of a geek. Shambling around at a party he strikes up a conversation with the also geeky Chantry (Zoe Kazan). Hitting it off, Wallace walks her home, clearly anticipating a bit of tonsil tennis. Sadly, Chantry chooses that moment to casually reveal she has a boyfriend, the flirtarious harpy. Crestfallen, Wallace tears up the ‘let’s be friends’ phone number she gave him and sulks.

Not for long. Bumping into each other at a movie theatre, they hit it off once again. And this time, stay in touch. For while Chantry’s boyfriend Ben (Rafe Spall, with Canadian accent) is still on the scene, Wallace figures he may as well lust from afar. So begins a beautiful friendship, marred only  by Ben’s suspicion of Wallace’s motives, plus the continual ribbing and derision Wallace’s friend Allan (Adam Driver) pours upon him. But can a man and woman every stay just friends?

Yes, we’ve seen this scenario before and no-doubt we’ll see it again. But, putting our cynicism aside, as rom coms go this is definitely one of the better ones. It’s sweet without being too cutesy and features just enough crudity and low budget indie sensibility to steer well away from Kate Hudson territory.  And we did quite like Daniel as a leading man – all nervous and short and awkward. He’s definitely no chested-waxed hearthrob and that makes a refreshing change.

Now we’re off to watch Arnie blow things up.

UK release 20 August

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone