Jan 2008 06

Noah Baumbach’s follow up to 2005’s Squid and the Whale continues with that films dysfunctional family theme and it works just as splendidly for Margot as it did with fore mentioned film.
Baumbach’s writing is just stellar with his off-beat sense of humor and a knack at finding hilarity in the awkwardness and uncomfortable settings the mixing of estranged family members creates. Baumbach’s script also turns things on their head a bit with his younger characters acting and discussing things older then themselves, while most of the adults act like children; to certain extents. This allows the viewer to enjoy and buy into the absurdity of some of the events that happen since it is such a topsy-turvy world to begin with.
Nicole Kidman does some great work as Margot, a successful author at a turning point in her marriage. Her relationship with her son Claude (Zane Paris) is one of the most interesting parent/child relationships caught on screen and the two are able to discuss things that would never be touched by most kids with their parents.
Jenifer Jason Leigh stars as the bride to be of the wedding in question, Pauline, and is fantastic as the younger sibling looking for approval from her “best friend” and sister Margot. Her fiancé, Malcolm, is a hapless loser type, Jack Black in possibly his best film roleyet, who is not very highly thought of by Margot.
Margot and Pauline have been estranged for a bit of time and when we add Margot’s marriage problems, Claude’s sexual curiosity, crazy neighbors, and a bit suspicious rush to marriage, dysfunction and chaos easily ensue. The story twists in turns with the viewer never really knowing where it is going to go next as the film constantly entertains with it’s weird style and laugh out-loud scenes.
The film also throws you into situations where you do not necessarily get an explanation for everything that is happening. With the film taking place in the childhood home of Pauline and Margot, we encounter characters around town and the characters will express these outrages opinions of them and we have no idea why they feel that way, and the film never stops to explain. The film is a looking glass view into these characters lives and we rarely get exposition so all we ever know is what naturally comes up in these characters conversation.
The movie’s unconventionality and frankness make it a unique comedy experience and character study that had me laughing through out. Another great film by Baumbach with an exceptional cast all around makes this one of the better comedies of the year and leaves longing for another Baumbach film as soon as possible.


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