Saturday, April 17, 2010

Greenberg



What Greenberg has going for it is originality and a great performance by Ben Stiller as Roger Greenberg- a schlub that likes to do nothing in life. After having gone through a mental breakdown he resorts to his brothers house in California to house sit as his sibling visits Vietnam with his fam.

This is a a complex character study that comes from writer director Noah Baumbach's imagination. Baumbach -a frequent Wes Anderson screenwriter that penned the more recent The Fantastic Mr Fox- has had a decidedly mixed venture in his directing career so far. His triumph came in 2005 when he released the miraculous Squid & The Whale. Greenberg is not that good of a movie but it is nevertheless an interesting attempt that Baumbach delivers with mixed results. Stiller has never been this complex and artistic. He gives his role a cetain je ne sais quoi that truly is the heart of the movie. Ditto Greta Gerwig as his love interest -or sort of. Gerwig is one hell of an actress and I loved every minute she was in the movie. In fact the movie is dedicated to her just as much as Roger Greenberg.

Because we live in an ADD generation, most people will shun off Baumbach's movie because they will likely ask themselves what is the point? Sadly those people are the same ones that will likely churn out their big bucks for Transformers 5 & drool over Michael Bay's explosive delight. This movie is not for them. There isn't much in the way of polt & -in fact- plot is substituted for character in Baumbach's film. It is the study of a man -& woman- that have no idea where their life is taking them and in which direction they actually want to go. The confusion is there and shown with an indelible flair for comedy.

The comic centerpiece is a frat party happening at Greenberg's household. Can I take this if I'm on Zoloft? says Greenberg before taking a line of coke. It's a hilariously awkward series of events that brings authenticity and improvisation. It's there and then that Baumbach's movie wakes up and energizes you into the film's structure. Before that it was a mixed bag of things.

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