Monday, July 27, 2015

While We’re Young Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Ben Stiller (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Zoolander) and Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts (Best Actress, The Impossible, 2012; St. Vincent) star in Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach’s (Best Original Screenplay, The Squid and the Whale, 2005) comedy, While We’re Young. The film takes a look at the weird, upended logic of urban sophisticates: the older ones embracing their iPads and Netflix, the young ones craving vinyl records and vintage VHS tapes. After Josh (Stiller) and his wife Cornelia (Watts) meet a free-spirited twenty-something couple (Driver and Seyfried), they adopt a new lifestyle complete with hip-hop dance classes and mind-expanding parties. But with each hilarious attempt to act young, Josh and Cornelia start to appreciate the rewards of growing old together. While We’re Young features an outstanding ensemble cast including Adam Driver (HBO’s “Girls”), Amanda Seyfried (Les Misérables), Charles Grodin (Midnight Run) and Adam Horovitz (Beastie Boys bandmember Ad-Rock).
Film (2 out of 5 stars)
Josh (Ben Stiller) and his wife Cornelia (Naomi Watts) live in New York City and are in their forties.  Close friends Marina (Maria Dizzia) and Fletcher (Adam Horovitz) have just had their first child.  As you would expect their lives as parents are significantly different than Josh and Cornelia’s.  Josh and Cornelia focus on the trips they could take, and the freedom they would lose if they had a child.  Cornelia’s frustration shows that they wouldn’t take a trip while her documentary film maker husband still works on his current project.  That project, which has taken over a decade of his life, is nowhere near completion.

Josh is struggling to complete his film and it doesn’t help that Cornelia works for her father, an incredibly successful documentary filmmaker named Leslie (Charles Grodin).  Josh teaches at the local college and meets a young couple attending his class.   Jamie (Adam Driver) and his wife Darby are spontaneous, fun and exciting.  They challenge Josh and Cornelia to stay out late, try new things and take risks.   Josh and Cornelia have been unable to connect with new parents Marina and Fletcher and are excited about their new, young friends.

At this point, the generational differences come into play.  Being in your forties is not like being in your twenties, no matter how young a fortysomething may act. Josh thinks he is going to be a mentor to Jamie and Cornelia heads off to hip hop class with Darby. As they begin to work on Josh’s idea for a new project it becomes clear that Jamie is not just a younger version of Josh. In the end, Josh ends up ranting about what’s wrong and right and not even his wife seems to be supporting him. I think of movies as a way to escape real life.  

There is a certain age range where you realize you’re not in your twenties even more. You look around; see those “babies” getting married, getting promoted, having kids of their own and you start to feel really old. If you haven’t gotten married and had kids of your own I’d expect that feeling to be exaggerated. I expected this film to be about Ben Stiller looking around and realizing he’s not that young anymore in a quirky but upbeat comedy. What I got was a drama with a few laughs about an unhappy couple. It’s my fault for assuming that Ben Stiller meant comedy but this is a lot darker than I expected.

I went into this expecting to laugh at the differences between the generations. Instead it just pointed out that life doesn’t go according to the best laid plans.  I already knew life wasn’t fair. I felt like the point of this movie was that life does indeed suck. It’s my fault for expecting more comedy because it starred Ben Stiller. This film left me feeling worse about life. Too add insult to injury, it included vomiting. Watching people vomit in real life is terrible enough; there is never a reason to put it in a movie!
Video  (4 out of 5 stars)
While We're Young is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1 ratio.   The film comes across well in all settings, both indoors and out. The yellows are favored in the color palette which gives the film a soft feel.  Fine detail still holds up well with no major complaints in the video department.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
While We're Young’s  DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is more than adequate for this type of film.  Dialogue is even and consistent and the soundtrack is supportive and never overwhelming. Crowds and applause have appropriate weight and the baby’s cry sounds like it is happening right in your living room.
Extras (1 out of 5 stars)
The Blu-ray contains a few brief extras.
  • Behind the Scenes Vignettes
    • The Cast
    • Working with Filmmaker Noah Baumbach
    • Generation Tech
    • Working with Charles Grodin
    • Ayahuasca Ceremony
    • Hip Hop Class
Summary (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Lionsgate’s While We’re Young Blu-ray is top notch when it comes to the audio and video presentation. It’s light on special features, and wasn’t the movie I’d hoped for. I prefer my movies to be an escape from the crappy details of real life instead of focusing on them. Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are a believable couple. This just wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy the story, but I wouldn’t go do far as to recommend that everyone else stay away. It might be for you, but rent before you buy.

Order your copy today!

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