The first two acts are some of Baumbach’s best work yet. Baumbach is one of the greatest comedic writers working today. I always love how he is able to insert social commentary into his films without becoming too overbearing. He gets his message across in such unique and funny way. Occasionally, Baumbach’s so-called “jabs” on the culture come across a bit too harsh, especially in the latter half of the film. Baumbach’s recent films always have a great soundtrack to boast and this is no exception.
The performances are great all around. As great as he was in Baumbach’s Greenberg, this is definitely Stiller’s best performance. His chemistry with the equally fantastic Naomi Watts really helps elevate the film. When I first saw this back at New York Film Festival last year, I was shocked by how good Amanda Seyfried was in this. She also has great chemistry with the always fantastic Adam Driver.
The biggest problem that I had with the film when I first saw it had to do with the big reveal. Baumbach lays it on a bit heavy early on in the film, trying to make the reveal a bit more logical. After everything is revealed, the film goes into incredibly clichéd and generic territory. Even certain scenes prior run their course, like the shaman scene, which wasn’t particularly funny to begin with. Still, this is one of the best films of the year so far and provides a steady amount of laughs.