Owen Gleiberman
March 04, 1994 AT 05:00 AM EST

Reality Bites

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
performer
Ethan Hawke, Winona Ryder, Ben Stiller, Steve Zahn, Janeane Garofalo, Swoosie Kurtz, Amy Stiller, Renee Zellweger
director
Ben Stiller
Producer
Danny DeVito
genre
Comedy, Drama

We gave it an A

REALITY BITES (PG-13) The first Generation X movie to view its characters from the inside out, not just as media-age confections but as intricate human beings. Directed by Ben Stiller, from a script by 24-year-old Helen Childress, this sly and tenderly funny romantic comedy centers around a young TV production assistant (Winona Ryder) who is torn between two men: her best friend (Ethan Hawke), a loquacious, proudly unemployed grunge-rock musician; and an earnest music-video executive (Stiller). In Reality Bites, the central economic fact underlying Generation X-the dead-end job market-has romantic and spiritual implications as well. If the characters keep postponing adulthood, that’s largely because, in the down-sized, no-illusions ’90s, adulthood doesn’t seem worth rushing into. Yet the result is an eerie fraternalism, in which everyone seems to be brothers and sisters, members of an eternal Brady Bunch. A ( 210/ 211, Feb. 18/25) -OG

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