First off we have the sad premise of ďa dude who wants to do nothing.Ē Donít get me wrong, thereís lots of hope for that sort of premise, look at SEINFELD, the show about nothing or even OFFICE SPACE, THE film about a manís pursuit of nothing. Those are both hilarious endeavours spawned of the same idea, which leads me to ask the obvious question, how in hell did GREENBERG get it so damn wrong (bear in mind this film is no comedy yet I make this analogy simply because the box tries to imply that it is). Talk about a topic that has infinite possibilities, yet here we are with a dull ass flick that falls flat on its face very quickly and never even makes an attempt to get up.
Now it certainly doesnít help that the character Greenberg (played by Stiller) is a complete and utter douchebag that you just want to hammer through a wall. Say heís at a table of people talking movies; heís the wannabe poser that outright loathes the one film everyone else loves for no better reason than because everyone else loves it. Heís such a flawed miserable character that he has to pick apart everyone elseís life to make himself feel better. Iím surprised half these people even talk to him after some of shit he pulls (like screwing over his band by not taking a music contract, sponging off his family and being a total jerkoff to his brotherís personal assistant). Itís hard to tell why anyone would feel anything for this guy but pity, which even then would be a fleeting emotion due to how much of a prick he is.
GREENBERG is a mess of worthless dialogue, poor characters and an even worse plot (and I use that last term loosely). Ben Stiller isnít pulling his weight for me lately. The guy has one solid performance and then five horribly painful ones (a lot like Will Ferrell...without the one solid performance). It also saddens me to see Rhys Ifans so poorly used here. I loved him in THE REPLACEMENTS and even LITTLE NICKY for all its absurdity. Iím happy to see that heís part of the next two HARRY POTTER films and hopefully heíll get better breaks because of it. As for Stiller, on to his next flop, have you watched the (shudder) LITTLE FOCKERS trailer yet? That said, itíll still be better than this mess...though not by much.
Greenberg Loves Los Angeles: Director/co-writer Noah Baumbach pleads his undying love for L.A. for about two minutes or so. Personally I prefer L.A. to New York as well.
Noah Baumbach Takes a Novel Approach: Here the director/co-writer gives us a minute and a half explanation about how he tried to write and shoot this film like it was a novel. Not sure what sort of novels heís reading these days but one of a writerís true strengths is in dialogue and his sucked.