Friends With Money

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Four women find their friendships affected by their differing lifestyles. Designer Jane (McDormand), screenwriter Christine (Keener) and super-rich Franny (Cusack) focus on sorting out slacker Olivia (Aniston), who lacks a husband or purpose. In the process, they discover all is not rosy in their worlds.


Nicole Holofcener’s third pleasing — if sketchy — foray among women’s relationships (after Lovely & Amazing and Walking And Talking) benefits from the men in their lives. Keener, as the patented dissatisfied bitch she plays so well, is bored and irked with husband Jason Isaacs, which alienates her from a multitude who’d shut up and thank their lucky stars.
McDormand’s pre-menopausal anger mismanagement and hygiene issues are a highlight, as are her effeminate husband’s (Simon McBurney) unwitting gay encounters, making them the most entertaining duo. Cusack’s delightful Franny and her husband (Greg Germann) fly in the face of PC wisdom because they are the richest but also the nicest, happiest people, with nothing to gripe about. Meanwhile Aniston’s unsettled, younger Olivia takes work as a cleaner and takes up (inexplicably) with a hilariously appalling physical trainer (Scott Caan).

Taken as it comes this is very amusingly observed, playing like a string of fairly sharp, funny improv skits. It doesn’t hold together if you start thinking about it, though, because so many of the characters are annoying and their raisons d’être both unplumbed and unresolved. How and when did poor Olivia become part of this set anyway? And what IS she doing with that boor?

While this doesn’t add up to much more than ‘It’s good to be rich and have friends’, it’s entertaining, with some choice performances and the laugh-out-loud quotient of a good sketch show.