Friends With Money (2006)

Those Sex and the City bitches ain’t got nothing on these high-class, L.A. housewives. They may have more money, though.

Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack and Catherine Keener star as a quartet of west coast, life-long friends who have achieved a level of comfort in their lives and have now settled into a life of designer clothes, charity events, and caring for the men (and offspring) in their lives. But as they approach ‘a certain age,’ unsettling things are starting to throw their comfortable lives off balance.

Having a bunch of spoiled, rich women in one movie talk about their non-stop problems with life, money, relationships, and being happy is not my cup of tea, nor is it many other guys’, either. This is strictly for the women out there in the world and whether or not you’re broke, got a crap-load of moolah, or are somewhere in between, you will probably be able to relate a lot more to this flick than us, asshole-like men. By no means is it a “chick flick”, but it’s still a movie that pertains to women, and women only, and the only thing that may interest the dudes here is any possibility of seeing some nudity. Other than a slutty-maid outfit that Jen wears about half-way through, there’s nothing else so flee away, men! Flee!

It may seem weird that I’m talking about this movie, being a movie that’s strictly for women to enjoy, relate to, and understand more than the typical, average dude, whereas I just watched and am now reviewing it, and I’m a dude. I know, it’s weird but I was interested to see this because I wanted to think there was more to this than just a bunch of women, very-wealthy women, I may add, moping around and acting like they can’t buy $200 pair of boots to turn that frown upside down. Yeah, they are humans just like you or me but watching these gals just complain about nothing other than the fact that their money can’t buy them happiness, did nothing for me and had no effect on my money-saving skills. That’s right, people, I’m still cheap and this movie couldn’t make me re-think otherwise.

Sorry men that are being forced to see this, this scene is the only action you're going to get for the whole night.
Sorry men that are being forced to see this, this scene is the only action you’re going to get for the whole night.

Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh on this movie, because in all honesty, it is very well-written from writer/director Nicole Holofcener and definitely made me laugh a couple of times, but those times were very few and far between. Other than that, Holofcener just throws at us a bunch of moments where these gals cry over spilled milk and problems with their man, that never seem to go away since the man, according to half of these stories, “is the reason for all problems in a relationship”. Now excuse me! I don’t mean to stick-up for the whole male-race or anything and say that we’re not all bad, because trust me, we are, but that doesn’t mean that the women don’t cause some of the problems in the relationship as well. I don’t know, this flick seemed to be pointing the finger at the wrong-person and in all honesty, there probably didn’t even need to be a finger pointed either. It could have just showed both sides of the coin and how they both cause problems, but no, it was mainly the women who got the love and showmanship, not the dudes.

However, the film isn’t all that bad and if you are looking for a movie that’s all about it’s characters and what they say, then this definitely may be your right up your alley. It wasn’t excruciating or boring to watch, it was just relatively dull and it felt like there could have been more to these characters, more to their stories, and most of all, more to the meaning of what the hell this story is trying to get across with it’s message. I get it, as you get older, you begin to get more cranky with the world and the people that surround you in it, but do we really need to watch a bunch of rich gals have that problem? I don’t really think so and even if we do, in today’s day and age, it doesn’t really spell-out all that well for people who are dying trying to make ends meet, and you got a couple of women that can’t get over the fact that their coffee hasn’t been brought-out to them in 2 minutes. Ladies, there are not only starving people in China, but they are starving people that are probably living right-by the dumpster of the restaurant you’re in so calm the hell down!

The only real saving-grace to this whole movie is probably the cast, that does all that they can to make this movie and script work. Jennifer Aniston isn’t as quirky, or overly annoying as she usually is with most of the roles she takes, and does a nice-job at the center of this whole movie as Olivia. Aniston definitely does a nice-job of combining both dramatic and comedic-elements of her sets of skills to make this character work, but in the end, she sort of falls a little flat mainly because her character is such a bum, almost to the point of where it’s unbelievable. It’s understood that a character that has no direction in life can get very easily side-tracked by dumb stuff like boning dudes you don’t really care about, or smoking way, way too much weed for your own good, but there comes a point where it’s enough to pick yourself-up and say, “I need to move-on with my life”. Aniston’s character, Olivia, never really does that and once again, even if there are people out-there that can relate to her character and the walks of life that she goes through, then good for you, but for me, it just annoyed me.

"We really need to get Oscars."
“We really need to get Oscars.”

Joan Cusack is fine as the comfortably-settled trust fund baby, and does what she can with a role that doesn’t really stretch-out her gills as an actress, but still feels like a waste of a really good talent. Her story, basically serves little to no purpose as to why it’s even included in the movie, let alone, made a big deal in chunks. Cusack and her hubby, played by Greg Germann, are probably the happiest-couple of the whole flick and for that, I feel like they just didn’t belong. Shame, too, because Germann and Cusack seem like they would have made an awesome, older-couple in any other movie.

Catherine Keener is fine as the television writer who can’t seem to get along with her husband for more than 5 minutes, and does what she always does: provides some funny sarcasm, that only hits you when you expect it. Keener is the only character here who really goes through any type of real or huge transformation that’s worth seeing, and she handles it with grace and care. I didn’t care much about her story-line, mainly because it was so obvious of where it was going to go with itself, but she interested me and therefore, I cared about her character more. Why the hell isn’t she in more movies? Seriously?

She's holding the next generation of the Coen's. Handle with care.
She’s holding the next generation of the Coen’s. Better handle with care.

Last, but certainly not least if Frances McDormand as the oldest-gal of the whole-group, Jane, and definitely steals the show from everybody else. McDormand is a blast to watch because she’s cranky, angry, and always has something to say without any type of filter whatsoever. McDormand is an actress we usually just see as the wise-cracking lady that you do not want to go toe-to-toe with in a battle of wits, and that’s probably the best part of her character, considering it’s what makes her problems and actions so much more believable than everybody else’s. Some will say it’s nothing new or refreshing we haven’t already seen from her, but hey, that’s fine with me as long as she continues to make me laugh and entertain me.

Consensus: The cast is what really saves Friends With Money from being another annoying, self-important piece of writing that would have been a lot better as a novel, rather than an actual, full-length feature-flick that has a very, very limited-audience of who can connect to.


Now we know who to blame for this movie ever being released! Damn you, AMC!
Now we know who’s to blame for this movie ever being released! Damn you, AMC!


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