When you hear about Greenberg, you will notice a few things. One is that Ben Stiller is involved. Ben Stiller seems to be a very polarizing actor, in that some people think he is okay, yet some people hate him with ever fiber of their being. I don’t know why those are the two options, but there you go. Definitely never seen a Ben Stiller fan boy though.
Second thing you will notice is that it looks serious, and Ben Stiller + Serious is scary.
Yeah, Stiller’s face is all up in this movie.
Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller, but you knew that) is a 40ish year old male carpenter, who was living in NYC and had a nervous breakdown. Sure he was in a mental hospital for awhile, but hey, no one is perfect. He is invited to come down to LA to stay for a few weeks, where he used to live, to take care of his brother Phil’s (Chris Messina) dog for him while he is away. Simple enough! The dog does have some problems though, so his brother’s assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig) also helps.
Both of them are kind of awkward, and going through some rough times, so a relationship starts to build. Kind of. Through Greenberg’s mental disorders, he seems incredibly narcissistic and mean, and blunt. So hey, not many friends. He used to be in a band but quit when they were about to sign to a label, being super cynical. He still has one old friend at least, Ivan (Rhys Ifans), who helps him with Florence, but other friends doesn’t forgive him for killing their dreams (Mark Duplass). Oh, and Florence is a main character too, and has her own friends for weird support (Merritt Wever).
Whoa, yeah that was easy to describe. Mentally unstable guy goes to LA, maybe starts a relationship, wants to fit in.
And maybe a clearly amazing birthday party too.
When the Greenberg character first appeared, I imagined him like an older version of a lot of Jesse Eisenberg characters. He acted very similar to a few of them, which was surprising, until I found out the director who did this also did The Squid and the Whale, starring Eisenberg as a character similar to this. So yeah, guess that wasn’t hard to figure out.
I then noticed that Greta Gerwig was in it, and she was just in a review I did for Baghead. And holy crap, she apparently gets naked in lots of movies.
After those two not at all related to the movie thoughts, I watched the movie, and well, it was okay. Stiller did a good job acting I thought, and was a big ass too. Disorders are big problems, especially when those don’t realize that you can’t filter your own information before yelling it, or just speaking your mind. Stiller shows the frustration greatly, and it builds up and leads him to more destructive habits.
But I also thought it was a bit slow, and lacked any real character development. I think more things should have happened than everyonce in awhile his character yelling at another. But that was just me.
2 out of 4.