Friends with Money
Don't call this a chick-flick. Guys could learn a lot about women by watching this older, often funnier L.A. version of Sex in the City.
Four girlfriends head into their near-40s and wonder if they'd even be friends if they met today. Frannie (Joan Cusack) is rich and happily married, trying to decide how to give away $2 million. Christine (Catherine Keener) is fighting with her co-screenwriting partner/husband (Jason Isaacs) about an addition to their house, and Jane (Frances McDormand) is a successful fashion designer who won't wash her hair--and has a husband (Simon McBurney) everyone thinks is gay. The youngest of the friends is Olivia (Jennifer Aniston), who's single, a pothead and a maid who goes through people's drawers. The other three worry about Olivia and set her up with handsome trainer (Scott Caan), but he ends up treating her as bad as all her past boyfriends. It isn't until she meets Marty (Bob Stephenson), an average-Joe living in a messy apartment, does she finally find some harmony.
No, Aniston isn't doing Rachel from Friends here, although it may look like that at first. Rachel would never take a vibrator out of a stranger's drawer and, well, you know. More, the actress revisits her Good Girl character, adding some additional, more hard-hitting layers. Some of the fights she has with Caan sound like they could have come right out of a spat she may have had with Brad Pitt. Oscar-winner McDormand is once again a wonder as a woman so filled with angst and anger she has no idea the effect she has on those around her. Keener, too, steps up as the screenwriter struggling with a failing marriage. In fact, all the relationships these women have hit home, mostly because this odd collection of stellar actresses seem to have a genuine and natural affinity for one another.
Writer/director Nicole Holofcener has captured a world of cross-economic friendships that may seem awkward but comes across as realistic. She has cast her alter-ego Keener in all three of her films, including Walking & Talking and Lovely & Amazing. This time Keener is a bit more hard-edged and frustrated and yet excruciatingly funny when she admits, ''I don't get SpongeBob.'' Holofcener has painted the men into the background very subtly but ultimately are unimportant to the friendships anyway. Some of the best moments are when the group is together, chatting and talking over each other, and that's why it's going to be unfairly compared to Sex and the City--girlfriends do get together in other cities, too. Friends with Money is just an enjoyable slice-of-life for couples of any kind.
Hollywood.com rated this film 3 1/2 stars.