Sunday, November 12, 2006

The DVD Beat: Friends With Money

Nicole Holofcner is a director for women, or so that is what she has led us to believe. In her previous two films, "Walking and Talking" and "Lovely and Amazing" she has given us some of the richest female characters to grace film in the past decade, and I commend her for that, or at least I did. Watching "Friends With Money," I have no doubt in my mind that Nicole Holofcner has had some shitty things done to her by men, and she decided to take it out on all of them right here. You know that old saying about how you shouldn't bring your personal life to work; well, I think filmmakers should go with that rule as well because I beleive Miss Nicole brought her personal life to work, and gave us this man-hating, pretentious piece of shit morality piece trying to pass itself off as a film.

Olivia (Jennifer Aniston) is our poor central character who has the unfortunate problem of having friends with money. Boo hoo! Christine (Catherine Keener), Franny (Joan Cusack), and Jane (Frances McDormand) have all had great success in life; married to successfull men, gorgeous kids, great careers, the works. Poor Olivia couldn't cut it as a school teacher, so she became a maid (The Horror!), and has never had much luck with men. She has to resort to going up to all of the cosmetic counters and taking free samples, so she can keep her good skin. However, they never explain how she has a really nice apartment, or designer sheets, but semantics, people.

Olivia is supposed to be the average joe, our look into this crazy world of rich people going to their charity functions and buying their children 90 dollar pairs of shoes that they will not be able to fit in six months later. But buying Jennifer Anniston for a second as an average working lady is a stretch that I was not able to make. It's no offense to Anniston, she's a serviceable actress, but this was not the role for her, and she might feel the same way considering how bored she looks the entire movie.

The men in the film are a bunch of immoral stereotypes for the most part. David (Jason Isaacs) is Christine's husband. There always fighting and have not had sex in a year; in a scene that reeks of serious "Too Much Information" syndrome we learn that Christine has never even seen David's asshole, can you imagine? Matt (Greg German) is married to Franny, and his problem, I assume, is that he's more concerned with spending money on his kids than helping out Franny's needy friend, Olivia; what an asshole, right? Richard (Timm Sharp) is married to Jane, and he's actually the perfect husband except all of Jane's friends think he's gay, so I assume that makes him a prick as well. Olivia gets a pompous, physical trainer (Scott Caan) for a boyfriend for most of the movie. He sits around with her at the houses she cleans, and they have sex on these people's beds, and then he expects half of her cut. Oh, and of course, he's cheating on her. The big relevation about him is that he's good in bed, but he doesn't look at me.

All of this is fine and dandy, and this could actually make for an interesting story. All of us have friends that have done better than us in life, and some of us are those people, and it would be an interesting avenue to explore. However, we are dealing with successfull Hollywood people trying to tell us this sob story, and it comes off just that, very Hollywood. Not to mention, the 1hr. and 28 minute running time feels like an eternity. Nothing really ever happens in this film; it's mostly just scenes of conversations that go nowhere. Interesting ideas are brought up like why do they have expensive charity dinners instead of just giving that money to the charities? Which is a great question that we never get a resonable answer to.

In the end, Olivia finally meets a good man, but then he lets out a big secret that seemed to completely undermine the point that Holofcner was trying to make. Or maybe I completely missed the point, or maybe there wasn't a point. I don't know; what I do know is that Nicloe Holofcner is a great storyteller, but she needs to take a step back and think about what she's saying before she actually spits it out. It's amazing that this is the woman that has given us so many great, richly layered characters in her first two films, and has resorted to the annoying stereotypes that "Friends With Money" is surrounded with. Maybe Holofcner's problem is that she has become a friend with money, and just doesn't get reality anymore. It sure as hell felt like it watching this.


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