07 May 2010

Greenberg (2010)

In this movie, Ben Stiller plays a forty year old who does nothing. Having recently emerged from a mental institution, Stiller's character is happily stagnant in his life. As his therapist tells him (heavily paraphrased), "You live in the past because you have no future." This is kind of an indie version of 40 Year Old Virgin. Without the laughs. Seeing as I hate 40 Year Old Virgin, and love Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Life Aquatic, Fantastic Mr. Fox), I thought this was a surefire A+ movie. I mean, c'mon, I'm only a few years away from being Greenberg, happily doing and being nothing. This is a character I should relate to!

Instead, as I sat there in an entirely empty theater, I found my attention waning. Yeah, some of the dialogue was great, as I knew it would be with any Baumbach script but there was an utter lack of charm about the entire movie. Greta Gerwig has been praised for her work, and I can see that, but every other character falls short, including Greenberg himself. Ben Stiller gave me Reality Bites so I can only hate on him so much -- even though I dislike almost all of his other movies -- but he's not likeable enough to pull off this character.

I wish I could say I loved this movie but I don't. I'll probably rewatch it again just to reconfrim my suspicious but it was so-so at best. I think I liked the buzz and thinking about the movie more. For example, check out this Slate article, "Omega Males and the Women Who Hate Them."