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Overall Rating

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 brianorndorf

"Forget the cash, I'll take Aniston"
4 stars

Nicole Holofcener’s “Friends with Money” continues the filmmaker’s strong work examining female relationships. A sharp script is aided by a superb cast, who manage to take their potentially bothersome quirks to wickedly uncomfortable emotional and social situations in ways only Holofcener could write.

Olivia (Jennifer Aniston) is a pot smoking, sort of employed maid suffering from extreme depression. She’s surrounded, judged, and supported by her long time group of friends (Joan Cusack, Frances McDormand, and Catherine Keener), who are all living wealthy, successful lives in Los Angeles. Feeling overwhelmed by her past mistakes, Olivia finds herself at rock bottom, only to see that the people she believed had everything they want are just as emotionally battered as she is.

Writer/director Nicole Holofcener is an incisive observer of female relationships, and “Friends with Money” furthers the strong filmography she’s building that also includes the pointed, first-rate films “Walking and Talking” and “Lovely & Amazing.”

Holofcener is able to expose the uncomfortable truths in life, and in “Money” she focuses on the growing pains of being 40 years old – the magic number society has deemed as the finish line for people to get their act together. However, Olivia is not written as a pathetic individual, lazily watching life and her friends pass her by; Holofcener has made certain to convey that the character is simply in neutral, due to many factors including romantic disasters and her own disappointments in life. Olivia is a rounded, nuanced character who desires the happiness that she long ago forgot how to achieve.

Jennifer Aniston gives the role a nice, restrained reading, helping the filmmaker get across the idea that Olivia is not a trainwreck, which would be much easier to both write and act. Aniston delicately inhabits the make-up-sample-hoarding, perpetually wounded character with poise, and the actress’s innate sugary humanity gives the role life. Aniston succeeds at refusing to play Olivia in an overtly sympathetic way, but she still remains unnervingly relatable.

The friends with money, however, have the more flamboyant roles. “Money” is a robust character piece, allowing the supporting talent to really go for broke with their performances. Holofcener’s script is tight and funny, but it gives the actors time to explore their numerous quirks. Franny (Cusack) is the passive-aggressive friend with a bloodless marriage and a need to judge, Christine (Keener) is the guilt-drenched friend with a crumbling marriage, and Jane (McDormand) is the friend with a personality disorder, married to a man who amusingly takes metrosexuality to the brink of flat-out homosexuality. Under Holofcener’s assured direction, the three supporting players are fantastic, but McDormand is the one who holds the screen. Unable to recognize that her mental stability is slowly leaking away, McDormand gives a full-throated performance as Franny, alternating uncomfortably between hilarity and horror as she furiously deals with the rude drivers and disrespectful waiters that disrupt the course of her day.

Much like her previous work, Holofcener has some trouble tying together a finale for her movie. The picture goes off in so many directions that finding a single concluding scene becomes pointless.

Holofcener simply goes for moments of hope in the film’s closing moments, and she achieves it with sharply written dialog, and four wonderful actresses who give “Friends with Money” a frightening dramatic authenticity that Holofcener is so skilled at achieving.

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originally posted: 04/14/06 14:25:25
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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
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
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  07-Apr-2006 (R)
  DVD: 29-Aug-2006



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