'Friends With Money'
A minor-key observational picture about a circle of Los Angeles friends who spend a lot of time brunching and complaining, "Friends with Money" is the latest from writer-director Nicole Holofcener, who made the similarly thorny comedies "Walking and Talking" and "Lovely and Amazing," where quippy one-liners and zeitgeist opinionating cloaked a sense of gathering middle-aged terror, of hopelessness, alienation and fear.
Christine (Catherine Keener) is squabbling with her husband as they renovate their house. Jane (Frances McDormand) is dealing with depression and fits of rage. Olivia (Jennifer Aniston), who quit teaching to clean houses, zombifies herself with pot. And Franny (Joan Cusack), secure in money, marriage and motherhood, spends her time coordinating charities and wondering why her other friends aren't happy.
The movie follows them over a few months, watching as the stress fractures form. Franny fixes Olivia up with her personal trainer (Scott Caan). Jane goes weeks without washing her hair. Olivia hits upon an elegant -- if incredibly sad -- way to stock up on moisturizer. And Christine can't quite get anyone else to buy into her obsession with proving Jane's husband Aaron (Simon McBurney) is secretly gay.
That's about it, really. Nobody dies, and nothing truly awful happens -- at least, not in the larger sense. A nose gets broken; a marriage dissolves. People surprise one another. And "Friends with Money" surprises, too, with its insights and its devastating clarity. It's not a fun movie, but it's a terrific one.
Sony's DVD offers your choice of full-frame and enhanced-widescreen presentations of the feature, each viewable with audio commentary by Holofcener and producer Anthony Bregman. Supplements are otherwise pretty generic, with a standard production featurette and footage of Holofcener and her stars at the movie's Sundance and Los Angeles premieres.
STUDIO: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: Available now
TIME: 88 minutes
DVD EXTRAS: French audio dub; English and French subtitles; audio commentary; production featurettes.
INTERNET SITE: www.friendswithmoneymovie.com