starring Jennifer Aniston, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand
written and directed by Nicole Holofcener
by Walter Chaw Nicole Holofcener follows her marginal success Lovely and Amazing with the equally marginal failure Friends with Money, presenting a series of interpersonal apocalypses as awkward dinner parties and scenes made unwisely at Old Navy by super-successful fashion designers. It's not subtle in its broad strokes, and once the layers of Angelino self-mortification and obfuscation are plumbed, it's not subtle in its character strokes, either. What it is is a caesura in the middle of those pictures that don't care about their characters that's only interested in its characters--a film that might be shorthanded as "European" in that nothing much happens as words and glances billow in carefully ventriloquited clouds. It's about how people talk to one another among friends and then lover/confidants on the drive home, and as such it provides a clearer look at conversation in any single exchange than does the whole of Crash. Friends with Money is a comparison of our intimate with our open lives; in the comparison, it suggests a third persona, an interiority--though not entirely successfully, making it only as good, really, as the conversation that it may itself inspire on the ride home.