Remember the name Noah Baum--bach. He's the 25-year-old writer/director of Kicking and Screaming, a smart and delicately rueful comedy about the terrifying leap from college into what is commonly known as real life. At first, the young, brainy and paralyzingly self-conscious graduates may strike you as cousins of Whit Stillman ("Metropolitan") and Richard Linklater ("Slacker"). But the arch wit of these kids is only their defense against entropy and angst. Baumbach himself is not afraid to strike deeper and sweeter emotional chords, as he takes us through a year in the lives of four inseparable male buddies, who nervously cling to their collegiate routines, while the women they know forge ahead with much less fuss and trembling. The expert ensemble includes Josh Hamilton and the delightful Olivia d'Abo as lovers whose affair doesn't survive graduation; the wonderfully petulant Chris Eigeman; the deft Parker Posey, and a very droll Eric Stoltz as a perpetual student and bar-stool philosopher content to have no ambitions at all. This modest, witty movie, with its fine ear for the undertone of aimless chatter, never raises its voice to make hollow Gen-X proclamations. Baumbach puts his trust in the details, and he gets them right.