Friends with Money

At a certain point in life, people often look back at their friends and wonder, if they met as friends today, would they click?  This is what Franny (Joan Cusack, Chicken Little, Ice Princess) thinks about her three best friends.  All four have been friends for years.  They still are very close, but are at very different places in life.  Friends with Money is an amusing look at the dynamic between these four women, and the relationships they have with the men in their life.

Of the four, Franny is by far the most well off.  She and her husband Matt (Greg Germann, Down and Derby, Hair Show) have oodles of money.  The can easily throw $2 million dollars towards charity.  This contrasts sharply with Olivia (Jennifer Aniston, Derailed, Rumor Has It...), who lost her job as a teacher and now works as a maid.  And she smokes a lot of pot.  Their other friends, Christine (Catherine Keener, Capote, The 40 Year Old Virgin) and Jane (Frances McDormand, Aeon Flux, North Country), fall closer to Franny than they do to Olivia.

Christine and her husband David (Jason Isaacs, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Chumscrubber) are adding a second floor to their house.  They are also writing a play together, which is causing friction between them.  Jane owns her own clothing line, but is going through some sort of mid-life crisis.  Everybody else thinks her husband Aaron (Simon McBurney, The Manchurian Candidate, The Reckoning) is gay.  Writer/director Nicole Holofcener (Lovely & Amazing, Walking and Talking) focuses less on plot and more on the relationship between everybody.  In fact, not much happens Friends with Money, and there's even a feeling of a lack of resolution in some cases.

But Holofcener has an eye for observation, and concentrates on the nuances in the relationships.  As she did in Lovely & Amazing, Holofcener creates some compelling female protagonists, most of which (aside from Franny) are suffering in some sort of silence.  There is a mixture of comedy and drama, and a very "human" feeling to all of it.  The movie gives Aniston a chance to redeem herself after a few sub par movie choices.  She's really good when she decides to do something of substance. Here, she puts up with Mike (Scott Caan, Into the Blue, Ocean's Twelve), her boyfriend who leeches off her. Of the four main actors, Keener gives the best performance. Christine is a smart, independent woman nearing the end of her rope. While she internalizes some of her increasing frustration, she does eventually break down. Including Friends with Money, Holofcener has made three films since 1996, and Keener has been in all three of them.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 28 minutes, Rated R for language, some sexual content, and brief drug use.

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