March 28, 2010
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Noah Baumbach is a director known for crafting delicate films. Of the three of his movies I’ve seen, all have this air of reality that parodies actual reality. Like Wes Anderson’s films, Baumbach creates rich characters and focuses more on their journey than the audiences journey. This can either be a good thing or a bad thing. It depends solely on your movie preferences.
Ben Stiller does a brilliant job as Roger Greenberg, a man whose only mission is to do nothing. Stiller, like Robin Williams in One Hour Photo, finds a way to minimize his usual goofy demeanor and fully embody a quiet character. The plot of Greenberg is simple, but almost irrelevant. The film’s focus is Greenberg’s time while he’s house sitting for his brother. The characters and their impact is what matters. And in this case, the supporting cast finds the ability to adhere to Baumbach’s dry and quiet wit.
I wouldn’t consider this a comedy, more of a drama. I don’t think dramedy fits either. It’s a film that forces you to look at yourself as you look at the screen. Though the characters are learning about each other, we are learning about ourselves. Truly a great movie for those who prefer some substance in their films, and enjoy those confrontational self-analyzing questions that the protagonist always asks. 4 out of 5 stars.