Greenberg review

Ben Stiller isn’t bad at all as the titular character of Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg but he’s an odd choice for the role. Playing a recluse recovering from a nervous breakdown, this isn’t typical Stiller madcap comedy fodder and it’s admirable that he’s trying something new but his stardom is distracting and a lesser-known actor probably would have been a better fit. Greta Gerwig, Stiller’s co-lead, is utterly charming, evoking desperate sympathy for a young, na├»ve character with as many, if not more, issues than Stiller’s.

The script is rich, intricate and original but there are a few problems. Character development is so subtle I’m not even sure there’s development at all at times, rendering some events unnecessary. It is also repetitive and confusing at times with Stiller’s character flipping out before apologising and making everything OK. Until the next time he flips out. And the cycle repeats itself. Without giving too much away this contributes to a slightly unsatisfactory ending.

Greenberg is nicely shot and edited and successfully creates some incredibly awkward, uncomfortable moments for the viewer. While not everyone’s idea of fun, this rare trait is the film’s biggest achievement. A difficult but decent movie.

3 out of 5

14th Jun 2010 | Official site | On IMDb