After the tedious first hour, I was ready to go home, but watching movies, even misfires like “While We’re Young,” is how I make my living.

“While” comes to us from Noah Baumbach, who also overwrote the screenplay. You may have missed his last hit “Francis Ha,” with the tiresome Greta Gerwig. Sadly, I did not.

This time, we’re treated to the story of Josh and Cornelia, a modern childless couple who have learned to live with it, even though they are tortured by friends who have more than enough.

Josh (Ben Stiller) makes documentaries, Cornelia (Naomi Watts), who occasionally helps her famous father (Charles Grodin), seems to do little else but give emotional support to her irascible hubby. Who plays irascible better than Stiller?

Cornelia’s dad, we learn, is the legendary documentary filmmaker who is revered — like the Walter Cronkite of documentarians — and is about to be honored at a dinner, which does provide a classic denouement where deception rears its ugly head.

Feeling annoyed by their child-bearing friends, our aging couple meet a much younger couple at a reading. This will be Jamie (Adam Driver from “Girls”) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried.)

Jamie, who appears to idolize Josh, and Darby take our older couple under their hip urban wings and sashay them through the tweeting, Snap-chatting underground world of happenings.

Josh will soon take to wearing funny hats like Jamie, and take on biking and after-hours night life.

The film celebrates and enlarges on the hackneyed differences between youth and the aging, which here is silly, because Stiller and Watts don’t look that much older. They’re supposed to be 40, and Josh, after biking, discovers he has arthritis in his knees. Oh my. “Getting old is not for sissies,” Bette Davis once said.

After a very long time of voguish, witty remarks, the foursome end up at a trendy spiritualist party, where they are given mescaline. We are then treated to a daisy chain of party goers vomiting into a shared bucket. Don’t have dinner first, it’s graphic.

In the last half hour, we find ourselves guests at a dark soul searching miasma, where Josh discovers that his search for truth isn’t shared by everyone in the film world. Wow!

“While We’re Young” isn’t a total throwaway. It has some patches of good writing and a funny scene here and there, but ultimately it’s an ordeal.

Watts is, as we all know by now, probably one of the great talents of our time. Her turn as “Daka,” the Russian hooker, opposite Bill Murray in “St. Vincent” is golden. In this, in an attempt to be “one of the kids,” she joins a hip-hop exercise class. It’s one of the scenes that brightens the movie.

Stiller has long been working at building Stiller. Don’t expect a breakout here. As fate would have it, there is too little Grodin and too much Stiller. Thank God for Watts. I would pay to watch her read from a bowl of fortune cookies.

Driver, so good and touching on HBO’s “Girls,” is saddled with a darker role here. But he’s a good enough actor to make it work.

Seyfried has a limited number of tricks in her bag, and will need more practice before sharing a frame with Watts.

The same goes for “While We’re Young,” which is sharing Railroad Square screens with Al Pacino’s “Danny Collins.” No contest.

J.P. Devine is a former stage and screen actor.


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