Friends With Money (2006)

Rated R. Our ratings: V- 0; L – 4 ; S/N – 5. Running time: 1 hour 28 min.

The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity.
Feasts are made for laughter; wine gladdens life, and money meets every need.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 & 10:19

Friends With Money

Director/writer Nicole Holofcener’s film, set in a stylish section of Los Angeles, explores the friendship of four women, three of whom are indeed “friends with money.” Franny and husband Matt (Joan Cusack and Greg Germann) have so much money, having just donated two million dollars to a charity, that they are unsure as to where they should direct their next large donation. The suggestion that they give it to Olivia (Jennifer Aniston), the only one of the four who is single and poor (she works as a maid), raises the embarrassing question of how those who have made it financially deal with a long-time friend who has not. To the credit of the three, who have all kinds of problems of their own, they have stayed in close touch with their penniless friend, rather than dropping her along the way to success.

Olivia once taught at a posh school, but the students, catching on to her lower economic status by her decrepit car, began to insult her by giving her quarters, so she traded a well-paying job with low esteem for one that paid less but in which her pride was not directly assaulted. She accepts a blind date with the personal trainer of a friend, Mike (Scott Caan), who asks to accompany her on her jobs. The cad has the temerity to ask her for a cut of her wages. Fortunately, she eventually enters into a relationship with an out of work and somewhat overweight who seems to appreciate her. Theirs is an unlikely pairing, but we hope that it might just work out.

We are not so sure of Olivia’s friends. Aaron does not take serious note of his wife Jane’s (Frances McDormand and Simon McBurney) deep anger over the small injustices daily encountered (the cutting in line incident at Old Navy is priceless!), and the resulting depression. Christine and David (Catherine Keener and Jason Isaacs) are a screenwriter pair working at dual computers but who seldom communicate, except when arguing. They are oblivious to the hostility of their neighbors, upset at their constructing a second story bedroom to their ranch home that will block the ocean view of everyone but themselves. The accident-prone Christine, upset that her husband never asks her how she is, leaves her dead-end marriage before the film ends. Only Franny and Matt seem to have no problems, which makes one wonder about the writer’s suggestion that those who have lots of “old money,” and thus have never had to worry about or engage in acquiring it. (Is this what the writer of Ecc. 10:19 is getting at?)