Friday, August 13, 2010

FI: Greenberg

The buzz about Greenberg was that it did for Ben Stiller's standard neurotic characters what Punch-Drunk Love did for Adam Sandler's default man-child persona, and, in this regard, the buzz was completely right. In Greenberg, Stiller gives a grounded performance as an unlikeable 40-something, fresh off of a nervous breakdown, actively trying NOT to find a way forward in life. It's a typical Noah Baumbach movie, full of awkward squirmy moments and childish adults navigating their pasts and futures. The real star here is indie darling Greta Gerwig, whose idiosyncratic screen presence fits perfectly as the harried assistant to Greenberg's brother (who ends up in a quasi-relationship with Stiller's character). It's a bizarre, frustrating comedy, but one that slyly shows that caring for others -- and being cared for by them in turn -- might be the only way out of self-obsessed, backwards-looking oblivion.

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