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Kicking and Screaming

Is there life after college? This wryly comic mood piece doesn’t dazzle us with fresh answers. But first-time writer and director Noah Baumbach, 25, has a knack for acute observation and a spirited cast to animate every twisted nuance. Grover (Josh Hamilton), Max (Chris Eigeman), Otis (Carlos Jacott) and Skippy (Jason Wiles) are slouching toward whatever. The older Chet (Eric Stoltz) is an idol — he never leaves school.

Forget sex, drugs and rock & roll, these turtles dream of retirement as they dream up avoidance games: “Ding, name all eight Friday the 13th movies.” Grover’s girlfriend, Jane (Olivia d’Abo), wins a study grant in Prague, the Czech Republic, and moves on. Skippy’s steady, Miami (the irresistible Parker Posey), tells him she’s fucking around. Scenes move from hurt to resigned laughter and ring poignantly true. The heroically unfashionable result is a minor but distinct pleasure.


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