Your Friends and Neighbors (1998)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy, Ensemble Film, Comedy of Manners  |   Release Date - Aug 21, 1998 (USA)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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As Neil LaBute moves his characters about like expertly deployed marionettes, Your Friends and Neighbors focuses painfully on people's inability or unwillingness to truly know each other's inner selves. All six principals prove uniquely suited to their parts, from Nastassja Kinski's childlike body language and ability to lend nuance to the same repeated lines, to Aaron Eckhart's bloated, self-satisfied handsomeness, Amy Brenneman's bruised unfulfillment, and Ben Stiller's pseudo-sensitive naval-gazing. As Cary, the wad of testosterone in a thin shell of humanity, Jason Patric gives the film its convincingly ugly heart. The only character to say -- and take -- what he truly wants, he balances out the brilliantly acerbic Catherine Keener's portrayal of a woman who can only tell others what it is she doesn't want. What all this proves about gender roles, or at least LaBute's conception of them, is best left to the contentious conversations sure to follow any viewing. Just remember not to make this a date movie unless you're sure your relationship can weather the storm.