While we are Young is one of the latest offbeat comedies from director and screen writer Noah Baumbach, starring Ben Stiller (Josh), Naomi Watts (Cornelia), Amanda Seyfried (Darby) and Adam Driver (Jamie). The main thread of the story is centred around a middle-age couple’s career (Josh and Cornelia) and their marriage being overturned when a disarming young and free spirited couple enters their lives. The film deals with the topics of love, disenchantment and betrayal in a very intense and, at times, painful way. It eschews the usual comedy formulas and presents an offbeat story of a couple who feel that they are in a rut and inadvertently meet a young couple that seems to awaken their inner desires to be more carefree and spontaneous, while not recognizing what is happening to their marriage. Josh has stalled on a documentary he is making and is prodded into finishing it, but things don’t turn out as expected, which leads to a series of humourous scenes and exchanges between the older and younger couples, plus married friends that have just had a baby complicate their life by putting pressure on them to have a family, which isn’t in their mindset at this present time.
The whole premise does raise a few laughs, but we think this is for American audience tastes, as we found a lot of the scenes very flat when we think they were trying to be funny, for which the script is probably the let down and lacks a certain pizazz in the writing. Ben Stiller is most suited in his role, using that hang dog look a lot while he is wondering why his life sucks so much and nobody seems to like what he does. Naomi Watts is equally good as his wife who is constantly bombarded by friends wondering why they haven’t had children and watching their best friends who just had a baby drop them like a hot potato when they befriend the young couple and head in a different direction. On top of that, her father is an eminent documentary maker that irks her husband and he refuses to ask for help from her father, thereby digging himself into a bigger hole.
Every new generation threatens its predecessors but perhaps the most fascinating generation gaps of all are those that occur at moments when societies are in the midst of massive technological and cultural transitions. This cross-generational comedy of manners about aging, ambition, and success, as well as a moving portrait of a marriage tested by the invading forces of youth captured 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.The young couple play it cute, but after a while you realize that they themselves are also not what they seem in terms of the strength of their relationship, resulting in some interesting self-discoveries.
All in all, it is entertaining in parts, but somehow we expected more from this film with such a well put together cast of strong actors giving some great nuances to their characters. The script is the letdown, as there are some dead spots in the writing where Josh is trying to prove Jamie is a liar and this digression is unnecessarily long and ultimately not fruitful for the watching, leading to an anti-climax at the end. Recommended and yet you can be the judge of it.