Director: Nicole Holofcener
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, K.C. Clyde, Bobby
Coleman, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand,
Jason Isaacs, Scott Caan, Greg Germann, Simon McBurney
RunTime: 1 hr 28 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: M18 (Scene of Intimacy)
Day: 14 September 2006
Four women who have been friends all their lives
begin settling into their early middle age with much disparity
and confusion especially for Olivia. Showcasing the unexpected
challenges of adulthood, this show is brutally honest and
with Money takes us on a journey exploring relationships amongst
best friends - the ones who'll offer you sound advice, or
run to when you're faced with troubles, and its evolvement
over time. It also explores the dark emotions that reside
in each one of us, despite supposedly normal behaviour exhibited
on the outside.
In a gist, the story's about the friendship amongst three
couples and their single friend, as well as the romantic relationships
between the couples. Like many dominant female character movies,
this one has its share of strong female actresses achoring
the film, in Jennifer Aniston, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener
and Frances McDormand. However, Desperate Housewives they
are not, with everyone, except Aniston's Olivia, in a financially
free situation, hence the title of her friends with money.
The movie raises familiar people issues , about mid-life crises,
the search for the calling in life, the need to connect with
people and the quest in looking for that special someone.
Writer-Director Nicole Holofcener weaves many recognizable
instances throughout the movie from the start, and never lets
up. I especially liked almost every conversation around the
dinner (used loosely here) table, where varying degree of
pretenses during the meal get stripped down in the comfort
of someone you trust whole-heartedly.
The movie however, played out rather flatly, without much
drama nor much fuss. However, it is in this narrative lack
of highs and lows that rings through, and somehow entrenches
it with a layer of reality - you don't expect everything in
life to be working your way, and not everyday is a Sunday
- that sometimes nothing much happens and it's pretty mundane.
The story's very much dialogue driven, and in my humble opinion,
has lines which aren't contrived, words that you and I are
capable of saying during various emotional experiences.
However, the ensemble cast more than make up for its seeming
lack of focus. Each lead actress just defines their roles
brilliantly, though some had clearly more screen time than
others. While Jennifer Aniston's teacher-turned-maid Olivia
was nothing to brag about (she whines a lot), Frances McDormand's
high-strung Jane almost stole the show from all of them.
The male characters in the husbands were a little more one-dimensional,
save for Aaron (Simon McBurney), a man whose subtle effiminate
demeanour usually gets him mistaken to be gay, and a small
subplot involving a namesake. The movie doesn't set itself
as a male-basher, though it does suggests how at times, insensitivity
can break down relationships with some unkind remarks, and
contrasts this against how kind words can be used to build
strength. We also look at how first impressions matter, of
how being much of a slob doesn't get you much (positive) attention,
and again ringing home the reminder that what's beautiful
on the inside counts as much, if not more.
There's a balance of comedic moments and heartfelt sad ones,
some scenes that will rile you and leave you exasperated,
and others that will make you all warm and fuzzy. And you
wonder, isn't all that experience part and parcel of what
life's all about?
(Guaranteed enjoyable, this movie is an impressive animated
houseful of intelligent fun for everyone)
by Stefan Shih