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Sunday, June 1, 2008


The glowing reviews for this modest pic about the breakup of a literary couple in Park Slope, Bkln (Jeff Daniels & Laura Linney), and its effects on their two impressionable teenaged boys (Jesse Eisenberg & Owen Kline) caught a critical buzz it didn't quite deserve. Scripter Noah Baumbach deals w/ his over-articulate characters by writing an over-articulate script that dissects rather than reanimates. It's just too easy to ‘read’ all the motives and hidden agendas in the family dynamic and you're left staring at some barely functional direction that adds little to a skimpy mix. (Deeper and deeper into shallow waters.) The perfs are all good, especially from the troubled kid brother, and its nasty fun to hear some of the lamentable psycho-babble & trendy literary opinions that were considered so enlightened back in the mid-‘80s. But if you met any of these folks at a party, you’d head straight for the door. Any explanation as to why Baumberg made everyone a WASP in what has to be a largely autobiographical tale?

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