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2005 NYFF Films

Good Night, and Good Luck
Regular Lovers
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
L'Enfant (The Child)
The Squid and the Whale
I Am
Something Like Happiness
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
Tale of Cinema
Breakfast on Pluto
Through the Forest
The President's Last Bang
Who's Camus Anyway?
Three Times
Paradise Now
Tristram Shandy
The Sun
The Passenger
Cache (Hidden)
The Squid and The Whale
Noah Baumbach, USA, 2005, 88 min.

Baumbach has crafted a "semi-autobiographical" but fully specific comedy about growing up with a little brother in the Park Slope section Brooklyn in the Eighties with literary parents whošre splitting up. Baumbach co-wrote The Life Aquatic with Wes Anderson; here hešs on his own. A bearded Jeff Daniels and plain Laura Linney give balanced readings of their parts as the defensively pretentious writing teacher dad whose days of published success fade while his wife gets a book contract and her novel is excerpted in The New Yorker. Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline are fine as the two brothers Walt and Frank who have to deal with the colder details of joint custody while their parents are still throwing verbal barbs at each other and rumors of earlier adulteries are coming out and who getšs the cat ­ and the special edition of Bellowšs The Victim -- are still up for grabs. William Baldwin is funny but one-note as a laid-back tennis coach called Ivan who turns out to be a wild card. The boys rebel in their different ways and the details of teenage sexuality are painfully detailed. Some will find the antics of the boys and their warring parents squirmy-funny, others will just find them squirmy. There are more embarrassing moments than revelatory ones, but for those whošve been here, just seeing the situations may be revelation enough.. Baumbach works in close to his subject for sure. The social and period details are very specific and there are some good scenes.  (Chris Knipp)

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