When: Thursday, 22 July - Wednesday, 1 September
Where: Various cinemas
How much: $15.00
Roger Greenberg is not the kind of guy you want to wind up next to at a dinner party. Prickly, passive aggressive and seemingly oblivious to his truculent demeanor, Greenberg would probably point out — in minute detail $#151 everything that is wrong in the world, and quite possibly with you as well.
In Greenberg, writer-director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) has once again created a character that you'd love to loath, were it not for the humour, delicacy and ultimate poignancy of his writing. And Ben Stiller plays this to a tee. His markedly emaciated body and casually brutal observations unveil a man so desperately blind to his own insecurity and unhappiness.
Uprooting from New York to LA to house-sit for his wealthy brother (Chris Messina), Greenberg arrives with a sizable chip on his shoulder and an antisocial inability to drive. Thus marooned, Greenberg leans on doormat-of-a-housekeeper Florence (Greta Gerwig), and somehow their mutual loneliness results in them fumbling towards some semblance of a romance.
As knowingly written as it is acted, Greenberg certainly won’t be for everyone. Gerwig is a welcome breath of fresh air to cut through all the narcissism, though even this counterbalance feels purposeful. But Baumbach's talent in carving out fascinating character studies from the inanity of the everyday ultimately transcends the film's 'indie' sensibility.
By Alice Tynan