It's very rare that I read a professional review of a movie I've watched before writing about it here. I don't really consider anything I write as an actual review; I don't know enough about the industry or the process of film production to write an intelligent review.
Nah, I'm simply writing about what I like, and how a particular movie moved me, or didn't. I stay away from reading reviewers like Ebert and that guy who replaced Siskel for a couple of reasons: (1) I don't want to sound like a professional wanna-be, and (2) I don't want to steal their comments. And I would. I have no shame.
Well, very little shame.
So, I have a confession: I clicked on--and read-- Ebert's review of Friends With Money before writing this post. I had to...I really liked the movie, and couldn't figure out why. I hoped Roger could help me think it through.
There is a lot to like. The dialogue is catchy, the acting (especially Aniston, Joan Cusack and Frances MacDormand) is above par, and the supporting cast give A-level performances. But, it has no real action, very little music to set the mood, no significant plot twists or mysteries that needed to be solved.
No nudity, even.
I mean, it's really just a bunch of friends--most wealthy, all searching for something to fulfill them--who talk a lot, argue a lot and support each other through difficult times. Those with money are trying to fill their emotional holes with material things, while the friend without money (Jennifer Aniston) realizes her needs have to be met through relationships. She's searching for love, and realizes cash can't make her happy.
The friends with money all have built walls around their lives that cut them off from living fully; the friend without money is constantly trying to tear through her own walls in her search for personal peace and acceptance.
So why did I like it? It reminded me of Crash. In Crash, Don Cheadle's character comments on how isolated and distant our society has become, and he says: "I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something." The characters in Friends With Money are similar: they pick at each other, fight, debate, brag about their accomplishments and seek out shallow relationships in vain attempts to feel something they lost a long time ago.
And, it's this observation that is my dilemma.
In Ebert's review, he writes: "Friends With Money" resembles "Crash," except that all the characters are white, and the reason they keep running into each other is because the women have been friends since the dawn of time. "
Well...I'm gonna use my comparison anyway. Ebert can cry in his popcorn.