Friends With Money

Friends With Money

*

Reviewed by: The Exile

Friends With Money should really have been a spin-off TV series for Jennifer Aniston: a kind of downbeat Sex And The City. Whatever Aniston is, it isn't a movie star, or even a movie actress. The woman has no idea what to do with her face. Her big-screen acting style is to hang around, blank-faced and useless, while real actors work around her. You want to bash her over the head just to get a reaction.

The role of Olivia, then, is perfect for her: an unmarried, pothead maid whose taste in men leans toward losers and abusers. She cleans houses and beds jerks because she has no ambition, no money and no self-worth - character traits her three closest friends are constantly dissecting. They have a lot of time for this, as they're all extremely wealthy and rarely appear to do any actual work.

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Frannie (an unnaturally tight-faced Joan Cusack) and her husband, Matt (Greg Germann), have the most money, the most sex, and, not surprisingly, a problem-free life. Christine (Catherine Keener) is approaching a crisis in her flinty marriage to a selfish screenwriter (Jason Isaacs). And, in the film's most engaging storyline, a middle-aged clothing designer (the superb Frances McDormand) is confronting menopause, middle age and the possibility that her husband (Simon McBurney) is gay. Oy vey.

With no real plot and not much action, Friends With Money is a series of vignettes loosely constructed around the notion that friendship is difficult to sustain when income levels are radically different.

But though the director, Nicole Holofcener (Lovely And Amazing) delivers some profound insights into female behavior - the scene where McDormand freaks out in Old Navy is a brilliant display of misdirected existential rage - her style is too refined and oblique to really kick up dirt. Unless, of course, casting Aniston as a charity case was a deliberately subversive act.

Reviewed on: 07 Jun 2006
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The effect money has on the friendship of four women.
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Read more Friends With Money reviews:

Amber Wilkinson ****

Festivals:

Sundance 2006

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