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Overall Rating
2.94

Awesome: 1.45%
Worth A Look43.48%
Average: 13.04%
Pretty Bad: 31.88%
Total Crap: 10.14%

8 reviews, 21 user ratings


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Friends With Money
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by EricDSnider

"When your friends are loaded and you're stuck cleaning houses."
4 stars

If you put a few married couples together at a restaurant table, they'll talk and laugh and enjoy a pleasant evening. It's in their cars afterward, as the couples go their separate ways, that the real dirt starts flying.

Did you know they haven't had sex in a year? Did you see what she was wearing? Don't you think he's gay?

Maybe if these are your friends you don't need enemies, but I think the people in Nicole Holofcener's "Friends with Money" really do love each other, in their insecure, petty little ways.

This group of Los Angeles friends begins with four women, three of whom are married and successful and one of whom is single, working as a maid, and overly fond of smoking pot. Her name is Olivia (Jennifer Aniston), and she used to teach high school and date a married man until she cracked up and quit her job. Her friends aren't sure what to make of her anymore.

The other women suffer from varying degrees of lunacy. Christine (Catherine Keener) and her husband David (Jason Isaacs) are an unhappy screenwriting team in the process of adding a second story to their house without regard to how it will affect their neighbors' ocean view. Jane (Frances McDormand), a fashion designer, is overly confrontational with strangers, a little too outspoken, and, distraught at having ventured well into her 40s, has stopped washing her hair. Her husband, Aaron (Simon McBurney), is the one Christine thinks is gay.

The third couple, the normal ones, are Franny (Joan Cusack) and Matt (Greg Germann), who live off Franny's vast family fortune, have full-time help with the kids, and spend their days donating to charities and being deliriously happy. Obviously there must be something wrong with them, too.

Franny sets Olivia up on a date with her personal trainer, Mike (Scott Caan), who proves to be insensitive and manipulative, exactly the kind of bulldozer that a walking doormat like Olivia doesn't need. He joins her as she cleans strangers' houses, roots through their refrigerators, then wants a cut of the money for "helping" her.

You get the sense that Olivia was once a strong woman and that circumstances have worn her down to the meek, spineless waif she is now. I'm less sure of the history of the other women, who are angsty and neurotic in different ways but whose lives aren't discussed in as much detail.

All four represent Holofcener's view of the modern American woman: flawed, beautiful and goddess-like. Her last film, vastly superior to this one, was called "Lovely & Amazing," and it also dealt with women living at various points of the self-esteem spectrum while honoring them for their natural feminine majesty.

"Friends with Money," with keen, natural performances from the leading ladies (I'm not sure I buy Aniston as a pothead, but I almost do), is enjoyable but not nearly as substantive. It only casually addresses the situation suggested by the title -- how friends of different economic statuses interact -- and it feels like a pale variation on the theme Holofcener addressed in "Lovely & Amazing" (and which she apparently began in her "Walking and Talking," which I haven't seen).

Still, the current film is a solid one, packed with smart, snarky dialogue and a few insightful observations about the upper-middle class. If nothing else, it can help you feel sorry for poor Jen after what that beast Brad did to her.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13575&reviewer=247
originally posted: 04/16/06 17:31:01
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2006 Florida Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival For more in the 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/23/10 the dork knight Mediations on postmodern ennui, with arguably sexist female stereotypes. 3 stars
8/29/10 PAUL SHORTT ENJOYABLE COMEDY WITH GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
3/30/09 amir so natural and beliveble without redundant 4 stars
1/17/09 Shaun Wallner Well made. 4 stars
9/14/08 Emily Incredibly boring. Everyone knows people like these, and you try to avoid them at all costs 1 stars
3/30/08 Pamela White much ado about nothing with money 3 stars
3/03/08 ravenmad 2 many stories. Tthe gay couple story was the most interesting. 3 stars
1/21/08 mb There is nothing there. 2 stars
8/13/07 Annonomiss Surprising gem with a low-key undertone. Loved unexpectedness of the characters' actions! 4 stars
12/05/06 Jen Kept waiting for something to happen. Sudden ending--no resolution. Very unsatisfying. 1 stars
10/12/06 Dawn I kept waiting for the "plot" to unfold and it just never did. Would not recommend seeing 1 stars
9/29/06 Jeff Anderson Unfocused, unsatisfying & film's hopelessly dull. A real shame! 1 stars
9/28/06 Juules This is one of the most boring, unsatifing and dullest films ever! 1 stars
4/30/06 Maggie I just saw this movie and felt is was BORING, SLOW, DULL with no story. 1 stars
4/25/06 Kimberly Disappointing! Ended abruptly but thank god it did. 1 stars
4/23/06 Mase Hofofcener may be a new female woody allen, however aniston is wildly miscast. 4 stars
4/22/06 Howard A 1 and 1/2 hour movie that took 4 hours to watch. 2 stars
4/22/06 Debra L Fox Not to quibble, but Jennifer Aniston's movie "The Good Girl" is from 2002, not 1992! 4 stars
4/11/06 Virginia Helfman An excellent film -- really lovely. 5 stars
4/05/06 Katrina Ok wouldn't spend more then a rental fee on it though 2 stars
3/25/06 Sylvia Augustiniok It may work for a television audience. Trivial and disappointing. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Apr-2006 (R)
  DVD: 29-Aug-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  31-Aug-2006



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