Synopsis: A ne’er-do’well finds his soulmate in his brother’s assistant.
Release Date: March 26, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Drama, Comedy
Ben Stiller is Roger Greenberg in writer/director Noah Baumbach’s newest film, “Greenberg”. In this zany but honest film, 1970s neo-realism is the name of the game and everything from the zoom shots, coloring, drug use and use of diegetic sound is in line with this. Stylistically this film is refreshing to watch because it plays around with sound, cinematography and point of view boldly and unexpectedly. Roger Greenberg is a man who has just returned to Los Angeles after a year long stint in a psychiatric hospital. He’s not crazy though, or at least not clinically; he checked himself into the hospital after having a severe emotional breakdown. Now he has returned to his old life and is determined to keep a safe distance from everyone to avoid leaving yet another destructive path of hurt behind him. Unfortunately, his plans to remain detached fall through. Not only does he reconnect with some ghosts from his past, including a past band mate (Rhys Ifans) and a former flame (Jennifer Jason Leigh), but he also ends up falling for his brother’s assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig). She is not exactly the girl of his dreams, but she is pretty enough to keep him coming back to her. It is interesting to see Roger, an odd and complex character who is blunt to a fault and has obvious anger issues, fall in love with someone as calm and organic as Florence. Ironically, Roger could not be worse for Florence: he has a tremendous capacity to injure, while she has a tremendous capacity to absorb the pain he incurs. However, together they manage to have some pretty spicy chemistry as they suffer each other’s shortcomings.
Although I appreciate Baumbach’s knack for realistic conversations and themes, these were some of the most boring conversations I’ve ever had to listen to. I understand the need to be edgy and realistic but to have conversations that were completely void of substance was difficult to listen to for 2 hours straight. There were some incredibly witty lines and poignant moments but for the most part, the dialogue seemed directionless.
Greta Gerwig’s portrayal of Florence was exceedingly dull which was frustrating because one third of the film is shown from her perspective. In the opening sequence of the film, there is a close-up of Florence’s profile and it is obvious that she is aware of the camera. Her performance had elements of charm but ultimately, her acting was poor enough to take you out of the film. Ben Stiller plays Greenberg with a good balance of neuroticism and vulnerability. He was able to present the audience with a character that they were at once completely infuriated with and sympathetic towards.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Noah Baumbach
- Producer(s): Noah BaumbachBen Stiller (Roger Greenberg)
- Screenwriter(s): Jennifer Jason LeighRhys Ifans
- Cast: Tim StreetoHarris SavidesFord Wheeler
- Editor(s): Mark Bridges
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA