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Your Friends and Neighbors (1998)
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Review Date: September 13, 1998
Director: Neil LaBute
Writer: Neil LaBute
Producers: Steve Golin, Jason Patric
Actors:
Aaron Eckhart
Ben Stiller
Nastassja Kinski
Amy Brenneman
Catherine Keener
Jason Patric
Plot:
This film follows the lives of three couples: one married, one living together, and two singles. We waltz through their everyday lives, and listen in on their private dinners, sauna sessions and the multitude of discussions about sex, life and the ups and downs of relationships.
Critique:
Annoying character study starts off with some thought-provoking ideas, but eventually turns into a dialogue driven film that doesn't provide the audience with any one character to give half a crap about. I liked this movie at first because it seemed to bring up some interesting queries likely to be discussed with my better half later on that night. But soon enough, it downshifted into another boring tale about the immoral actions of many of the "bad" people in today's society, and the self-centered nature of life in these awful modern times. Unfortunately for me, I could not stand to watch a film that spend the entire hour and a half studying people who apparently don't feel much, have little conscience, and whine incessantly. If it were only one or two of them who didn't know what they wanted out of sex and/or their relationships, then I might've been able to let it slide, but when all six characters spend the entire runtime kvetching about their uselessness as human beings. Well, let me tell you...it just got irritating.

Having said that, the acting was rock-solid on all sides, with special kudos to Eckhart and Keener. But the real standout was Jason Patric (who also produced this film) whose performance is one of the best of his wobbly career. He played this prick to perfection, and really pulled out all of the stops during one confrontation scene with Keener in the bookstore (chilling). His cool performance is definitely one of the reasons that I might've recommended this film despite its repetitive nature, lack of redeeming quality and unresolved ending.

There is also a hilarious opening credit score that features a warped acoustic version of Metallica's "Sandman" song. And, oh yes, none of the characters in this film call each other by their names because director Labute apparently wants us to be able to recognize these people within ourselves and others. Well, guess what? Despite seeing little aspects of people I know in some of the folks in this movie, the general lack of morals, compassion, feeling and humanity (Kubrick anyone?) gave me very little reason to care or even appreciate any of the lives of these people. It made the film unbelievable, boring and most importantly, unentertaining.

PS: Mrs. JoBlo cared even less about any of the characters in this film, and gave it an even 3/10.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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