Starring: Josh Hamilton, Eric Stoltz, Elliott Gould, Olivia d’Abo, Carlos Jacott, Parker Posey, Jason Wiles
Directed by: Noah Baumbach
Synopsis: Following graduation, a handful of college students do nothing and talk about it wittily.
Writer and Director Noah Baumbach made his feature film debut with Kicking and Screaming, back in 1995. It was similar in vein to films such as Richard Linklater’s “Slackers” and “Dazed and Confused” in that it was a loose story about a group of people sat around talking and trying to get to grips with life. I can’t say it did much for me really.
I like the other movies that Baumbach has either directed (Squid and the Whale, Greenberg, Frances Ha) and helped write (The Life Aquatic, Fantastic Mr. Fox with Wes Anderson) but Kicking and Screaming just kind of left me a bit cold.
The film is about a group of friends who graduate from college and have decide upon their next venture. Will they still be friends, will they move away and take new paths? It’s a thinking man’s American Pie if you will! It’s all very middle class, which when done by someone like Anderson doesn’t pose me any problem at all because it is done with subtle humour and a lightness of touch, but the characters in this movie were just whiny and unsympathetic.
I couldn’t identify with these people, didn’t find them particularly humerous and had no longing whatsoever to spend any time with them. There were some bright spots, such as the flash backs with Hamilton and d’Abo. Mostly though the film just comes across as an inferior version of “Diner” or something.
It’s not a bad first effort by any means, but held up against the work Baumbach has subsequently gone on to make it pales in comparison. For me anyway.