The Glasgow Film Festival opener is always a certain breed — and Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young fits the formula accordingly.
Quirky? Witty? Enough big names to draw a mainstream crowd to an indie flick? Check, check and check.
The menage-a-quatre follows middle-aged couple Josh and Cornelia (Stiller and Watts) on a journey of discovery alongside new-found friends Jamie and Darby (Driver and Seyfried).
As old friends settle down to children, Josh’s career making documentaries has stalled and the pair are in a rut. Enter, then, the younger, hipper couple, who introduce them to a world of hallucinogens, hip hop and...hats.
On the surface, While We’re Young offers up a likeable comedy about growing old disgracefully. Underneath, it’s a relatable tale about adults who still don’t quite feel like grown ups.
There are higher questions of art and authenticity, and what it takes to succeed professionally, as Driver plays the ambitious up-and-comer with well-pitched charm and arrogance.
But the stars are Stiller, proving that gentle comedy can win out over farce, and Watts, who carries the emotional strand as a friend singled out and wife nervous of new horizons.
The climax of While We’re Young loses pace a little, tying itself in knots over questions of honesty in documentary films — but the GFF opener remains a funny and moving tale of life after 40 in which audiences of all age will find common ground.
(UK release: April 3, 2015)