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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.4%
Pretty Bad: 3.7%
Total Crap: 3.7%

9 reviews, 27 user ratings

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Your Friends & Neighbors
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by Ryan Arthur

"I'm an artist's assistant."
3 stars

Talk, talk, talk.

I'm ordinarily a fan of "low budget talkies," as I believe Oz called them once. But there was something about Your Friends And Neighbors that didn't really do it for me. I think that part of the reason is that there's not a single character in the film who's not portrayed in a bad light.

As I write this, I've not seen writer/director Neil LaBute's first effort, In The Company Of Men. I'm told it's a superior film. I'd hope so.

Jerry and Terri (Ben Stiller and Catherine Keener) are a couple. He talks during sex. A lot. Too much, even. That's her complaint with him, and it leads him into a pseudo affair with Mary (Amy Brenneman), the wife of his friend Barry (Aaron Eckhart). Mary and Barry are having trouble, too. Barry's got erection problems, and feels that the best lover he could have is his hand. Meanwhile, Terri, unfulfilled, ends up with Cheri (Natassja Kinski). Add in Cary (Jason Patric), who's a womanizer and a monumental prick, and you've got six characters who aren't the least bit likeable.

Labute writes good dialogue, I'll give him that. That's his strength. His direction is spare: elementary point and shoot. But the characters aren't interesting (and having their names all rhyme, all be practically as interchangeable as their love lives, is annoying as hell). Stiller is in quirky mode (again), Brenneman is as disinterested in her performance as her character is in sex, Keener is practically comatose, and Kinski can't really get into her character. Patric is good - really good, like redeeming himself from Speed 2 good - but his character is such a jackass that you don't really care for him. Eckhart is also quite good, although you question that anyone might be as dense as he is.

It's not a dark romantic comedy, so don't let the ads fool you, and for God's sake, don't take your date to see this movie; you may never have sex again. It's actually kind of disturbing; not in the sense that you can't believe that people are like this, but that deep down, you know that people really are. I know of at least one person who could be an amalgamation of the male characters: I went to high school with him. That scares me that this movie could essentially be about him. Yikes.

In the end though, it's not enough. The dialogue is great, but coming out of these actors and these characters, it's almost a bore.

Fleeting moments of brilliance, a cool score (courtesy of Apocalyptica) and good dialogue. But it doesn't add up.

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originally posted: 09/28/98 23:52:06
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User Comments

7/05/14 Dane Youssef LaBute one again shows us just how far we've yet to go. Why does he do it? Because we do. 4 stars
8/17/06 William Goss Has moments, but tries too hard at times (read: Patric) to be harsh and cruel to no end. 3 stars
10/05/00 Spetters Patric, all is forgiven. Even Speed 2. 5 stars
5/12/00 Judy Terrible. Poorly written. No protagonist, no climax, nothing happens. And repulsive. 2 stars
10/14/99 johnny bluejeans the coldness in YF&N made "in the company of men" look like the teletubbies. 5 stars
10/12/99 Frank McKeithan Most hilarious thing I've seen since "Mommy Dearest" - sets a new standard for camp! 5 stars
10/07/99 Frank Curigliano I don't think anyone writes assholes quite like director La Bute. Good stuff. 4 stars
8/13/99 T McN One of the worst. A waste of their celluloid and our time. 1 stars
7/26/99 Suzanne I loved it and wanted to kick the people who walked out! 5 stars
4/09/99 Randall Labute knows how to capture the side of man and woman which is never shown in film 5 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob Another man-hating triumph by LaBute.You may need some years under belt for the full impact 5 stars
10/26/98 me i have never before actually walked out on a movie. ever. this time i did. 1 stars
10/21/98 PirateGirl Sketchy characters at best, no new insights, boring. Unless you REALLY love Ben Stiller. 2 stars
10/17/98 Mr Showbiz LaBute strikes again with a more irresistibly entertaining black comedy. 5 stars
10/13/98 grunter Brilliant chunks 'o dialogue -- Patric's "l'il Timmy" monologue worth admission alone 5 stars
9/29/98 Marty in St.Louis with the exception of one out of place Jason P. scene, the film rules. 5 stars
9/21/98 Negative Creep I walked out of this film 1 stars
9/16/98 Christian Remde Dark, coffee at Starbucks 4 stars
9/15/98 Gamma *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* nuff said. 5 stars
9/14/98 Chip Taylor Anything with Ben Stiller is king.Come on, he directed Jim Carrey's best,"The Cable Guy". 5 stars
9/13/98 Miss Stress well, there was one funny part to this movie. one. 2 stars
9/12/98 shamus D St Clair great movie, took my significant other with me and we had sex anyway :) 5 stars
9/09/98 Badass Brilliant. 5 stars
9/08/98 Young Einstein Really enjoyed this movie. LaBute is a comer. 5 stars
8/25/98 Kimberly Jason Patric is great. 3 stars
8/25/98 Johny solid sophmore effort for LaBute 4 stars
8/22/98 Mister Whoopee Can the fact that this is good make up for Jason Patric? Speed 2 lives long, bitch. 4 stars
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  19-Aug-1998 (R)
  DVD: 24-Aug-2004


  02-Jul-1999 (R)

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