Movie Review: 'Greenberg' added to director's list of neurotic films
Noah Baumbach appears well on his way to becoming a brand name for the cinema of the self-absorbed.
Since launching his writing-directing career in 1995 with “Kicking and Screaming,” a witty comedy of infantile college grads, Baumbach has racked up an impressive resume of films that walk a fine line between comedy and misanthropy, between intelligence and runaway neurosis. His sharply observed studies seem to position him as a guru of self-obsessed neurotics.
In works such as “The Squid and the Whale” (which earned him an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay), “Margot at the Wedding” and his newest film, “Greenberg,” Baumbach has proven himself a literate moviemaker who is fast carving out a niche on the big screen comparable to that occupied by Larry David on the small screen.
It’s easy to imagine the title character of “Greenberg” (played with cranky intensity by Ben Stiller) showing up on David’s angst-fest, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and matching the curmudgeonly host insult for insult.
Stiller’s 40ish New York neurotic Roger Greenberg is in emotional freefall when he shows up at a stylish Hollywood Hills mansion to house sit for his prosperous brother, Philip (Chris Messina), who is taking his family on an extended vacation to Vietnam.
Fresh out of the hospital following a nervous breakdown, Greenberg is middle-aged and directionless, working as a carpenter with no passion for his craft. His plan is to hang around the pool, build a doghouse for the family’s German shepherd, Mahler, and venture out only occasionally for groceries. “I’m trying to do nothing,” he says.
In his New York state of mind, Greenberg — who doesn’t drive — finds himself a pedestrian in a highly mobile, mile-a-minute L.A. culture. So, he strikes up a prickly relationship with Florence (a wondrous Greta Gerwig), his brother’s efficient, do-it-all assistant, who agrees to drive him around on errands.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 15085Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
- 9747OKC Thunder: Thunder trio praise fans before potential departures
- 6716Student shot dead during botched home invasion
- 5465Oklahoma Severe Storm Updates
- 5340OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti won't amnesty Kendrick Perkins
- 5237Oklahoma State football: Todd Monken thinks Wes Lunt should've stayed in Stillwater
- 5225Oklahoma medical examiner reports cause of deaths in Grand Lake boat crash
- 3827Oklahoma football: Sooners get pair of commitments
- 3819Soaring gasoline prices hurt Oklahoma City area retailers
- 3648As Boy Scouts' vote on gay members nears, faith groups weigh in
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients