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Friday, December 10, 2010

GREENBERG

By D.E.Levine

Director: Noah Baumbach
Writer: Noah Baumbach (screenplay); Jennifer Jason Leigh and Noah Baubach (story)
Cast: Greta Gerwig, Chris Messina, Susan Traylor, Merritt Weaver, Ben Stiller, Zach Chassler, Mina Badie, Rhys Ifans, Blair Tefkin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jake Paltrow et al.
Producers: Jennifer Jason Leigh and Scott Rudin
Executive Producers: Lila Yacoub
Original Music: James Murphy
Running Time: 107 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Comedy

This film is a departure for Ben Stiller who normally plays straight comedy. Stiller plays a man who's exhausted by his own anger and the fact that he's directing it at himself which causes people to think he doesn't care about himself or others.

Years earlier, Greenberg was part of a rock band that was on the verge of a breakthrough in the music industry, and was offered a recording contract. Instead of accepting, Greenberg walked away and abandoned his band-mates. Instead of explaining anything to anyone, Greenberg fled Los Angeles, moved to New York and became a carpenter.

Struggling, he had a breakdown, was institutionalized and has now returned to Los Angeles to house sit for his wealthy brother and take care of the dog.

Keeping himself isolated indoors while glaring out the picture windows, he calls and comes to depend on Florence Marr, his brother's family assistant who's familiar with the house and the dog.

Florence is definitely not the conventional love interest. Recently broken up with her boyfriend, working incredible hours planning the Greenberg family life and schedule, she's not interested in finding a new man.

Despite everything she becomes involved with Greenberg and he treats her badly. Through all this we see that Greenberg is totally unaware of his effect on people. This may be because he's busy obsessing over the grievances against him.

Whether it's reuniting with a former band-mate or a former girl friend, Greenberg is totally self-absorbed and neglectful of others.

Greenberg is not a sympathetic character. In fact, the viewer can't stand him. Yet Stiller achieves a fascinating portrayal that's interesting to watch and bags the question "Can Greenberg change or will he always be stuck where he is right now?"