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While We’re Young

Growing old is easy; growing up is hard

When 40-somethings Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) meet millennial couple Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried), their lives take a big change. <<© Scott Rudin Productions >>

When their friends start procreating, Cornelia (Naomi Watts: Insurgent) and Josh (Ben Stiller: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb) find themselves adrift amid Mommy and Me classes and talk of nursing.
    Cornelia is a successful documentary film producer; Josh is a less-successful documentary director and film professor. A couple who enjoyed art, travel and wine, they’d continue enjoying life if everybody stopped asking them why they don’t have children.
    Twenty-five-year-old Jamie (Adam Driver: Girls) comes as opportunity knocking. Jamie and his wife Darby (Amanda Seyfried: A Million Ways to Die in the West) represent everything Cornelia and Josh feel their lives are missing: spontaneity, creativity and openness to new experiences.
    The older couple ditches the uptown baby crowd for the Brooklyn Bohemians. They’re drinking Argentinian potions to cleanse their souls. Josh trades his T-shirts and jackets for skinny jeans, wing tips and fedoras. Cornelia spurns cookouts at Connecticut weekend homes for hip-hop dance classes and block parties.
    Writer/director Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is known for his unflattering but funny looks into lives fraught with ennui. While We’re Young goes a step further. Do people really want children, or do they think they should have them? What happens if you don’t follow the rules? Will you be shunned for wanting something else?
    As the couple rejecting their 40s to relive their 20s, Stiller and Watts are fantastic. Stiller is funny as floundering Josh, who is obsessed with success, though he can never seem to grasp it. He doesn’t want to admit he’s aging, and when he sees Jamie’s creative flair, he is inspired to abandon his current life.
    Watts is the real revelation. Her Cornelia is perfectly happy in her mature 40-something life, until her best friend becomes a mother — and a stranger — and Cornelia an interloper in Mommy-themed activities. She embraces Jamie and Darby to forget her own miscarriages and escape the reminder that she is no longer valued because she doesn’t have children. It’s less a mid-life crisis than a desperate quest to be seen the way her friends used to see her.
    Funny, embarrassing and insightful, While We’re Young is the perfect film for moviegoers who feel adulthood is a rigged game.

Good Dramedy • R • 97 mins.