a review by Darby O’Gill
Dear Mr. Greenberg,
This is a letter in response to your new film Greenberg. I’ve got to say I’m torn. On one hand I found the movie to unbelievably realistic, and by that I mean one of the more realistic looks at Los Angeles I’ve seen in a long time. Where as, on the other hand I didn’t really enjoy the movie. I think the problem is that it’s too realistic. Which is crazy, right? I’m sure you can see my dilemma. I mean, how can the thing that makes a movie good, be the same thing that makes it bad? I don’t know either, but if you manage to figure it out please be sure to let me know.
Okay, let’s get to the real review. In Greenberg we follow the story of Roger Greenberg, played by Ben Stiller, and his desperate attempt to do nothing. Well, if by “nothing” you mean have a midlife crisis, face the demons of your past, take care of a sick dog, fall in love unbeknownst to you, and also discover the life you never planned for, than yeah I guess “nothing” pretty much sums it up. Greenberg is definitely an Art House film, which I normally enjoy, but sadly this one was lost on me. It’s not that I didn’t understand what the movie was trying to say, as much as I didn’t understand why the movie’s story wasn’t working. Writer/Director Noah Baumbach and co-writer Jennifer Jason Leigh did an amazing job fleshing out the characters and the backdrop of Los Angeles, but for whatever reason it just never seemed to connect. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for about nine years now, and Baumbach’s ability to capture the look and feel of living in L.A. is truly outstanding. I only wish I could have enjoyed the movie a little bit more. But sadly, as I’ve said before, it almost seemed as if the film was made so realistic and believable, that it just didn’t seem to work in the end. I really don’t have an answer for this. All I do know is that it didn’t work for me, and when it comes to giving it a rating I’m going to have to agree with Leonard Maltin on this one.