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2.7 out of 5 stars
Greenberg [DVD]
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 November 2011
A film I immediately felt I needed to see again, I found this
fascinating and sometimes maddening.

Ben Stiller plays a truly unlikable 'hero', a man so angry that he
can't maintain any sort of real friendship, much less romantic
relationship.

What's admirable about the film, is that all the acting is so rich and
subtle, as is the writing, that no one ends up a caricature.

There's also an admirable unwillingness to give into convention, to
provide easy answers or heartwarming redemption. This is about a man
maybe taking the first step from A to B and we're not sure in the end
he'll even make it that far.

On the downside, there is a certain repetitiveness to it. We 'get'
Greenberg and his anger, and sometimes the going in circles feels like
just filling time instead of proving a point about how stuck the
character is emotionally.

Also, there's mention of Greenberg's vulnerability, but if that had
been allowed to be just a bit more evident it might have better
balanced his off-putting downside. As is, on first viewing, the film
felt a bit removed and intellectual.

But I could easily imagine that impression changing on revisiting, now
that I'm prepared for it's dark and difficult tone.

In any case, I found this a very good, if challenging film that's well worth
seeing, from one of our most interesting creators of complex characters.

On the other hand, it certainly won't be to everyone's taste or mood. I have
a feeling reactions to a film that has this much 'nails on a chalkboard' feeling
is a very individual, subjective matter.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2010
... so if that's what you're after, go elsewhere. But if you like character-based films like Hal Ashby and Robert Altman used to make in the '70s, or their modern counterparts like 'The Squid and the Whale' (same director as this), 'Trees Lounge' or 'Sideways' - adult films about flawed, often charm-challenged people struggling against their limitations just to get by, maybe make some consoling human contact - then this is well worth a go.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 6 October 2010
Greenberg is a beautifully subtle film about a man who can't decide what his next step in life should be.

Everyone understands feeling trapped; not feeling brave enough to plunge into the unknown, despite having the strength to walk away from a life which is devoid of excitement or distinction. Greenberg perfectly captures this state of antithesis.

Other reviewers have slated this film for not being 'Stiller like'. This is true. Don't watch Greenberg if you are expecting Zoolander or Dodgeball. Thankfully, Ben Stiller is progressively making more films that suit his acting style. He portrays the troubled, middle aged Greenberg sublimely with his abrupt delivery and awkward glances. Greta Gerwig is perfect as Florence, the quiet, disillusioned nanny that has a delicate sadness hidden beneath her every breath.

Greenberg is a fantastic film that everyone who has felt unequipped to deal with the adventure they've chosen to embark upon should watch and appreciate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2011
Reading some of the reviews I can understand how some people would see this as a not very nice movie to watch. Mental illness is still pretty much a taboo subject for many and perhaps there are too many examples of that going in this film for some folk to handle.

Overall I think Ben Stiller has handled the role in question brilliantly and shows that medication alone is not enough to help some people. Circumstances and real life situations ultimately decide how you behave and sometimes there is just nothing you can do about that. How this translates into comedy though I am not so sure but the film put a smile on my face now and then.

All in all I found the movie satisfying to watch and sure the people out there with the same symptoms as the main character would feel the same way also.

This movie has a superb soundtrack too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2012
I liked this film to a certain extent. what i mean by this that the film itself is good, well written, well filmed and a rather good soundtrack. The only thing i found about the film was that Ben Stiller's character is just too unlikable.I found no sympathy for him, just when you think he would come around, he just becomes more unlikable. The supporting characters are great, Greta Gerwigs personal assistant is great and deserves more screen time than stiller and Rhys Ifans character is great as stillers friend. this is a story about growing up and seeing friends slip away and move on and grow up themselves, as i said it is a good movie, well good-ish, however the ending was not to my liking however this is my oppinion. anyway hope this helped, off for a cuppa
Gareth
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2012
The usual Ben Stiller movie expectation is that it will be some slapstick ridiculous comedy that's highly predictable. But this was entirely different to his normal casting.

Although it is classed as a comedy there are very few laughs with perhaps the exception that he thought himself 'the funniest man [he] knew' which is funny once you've sat through the first half's dull as dishwater plot. Instead it is perhaps more apt to call this a somewhat moving tale of a grumpy middle aged man, desperate to cling on to his youth by being free and unchained to any life responsibility, who travels the path into adulthood. Being asked to babysit his brother's house he is thrown into a level responsibility alongside his brother's personal assistant, Florence. What follows is a tale of Greenberg finding himself in society and reaching self-actualisation.

Whilst the majority of the movie seems to drone on on one mundane level, in which there is little sympathy felt for the main character, the ending (at least) still leaves you feeling heart warmed.

This is not what I'd call a stereotypical Stiller movie so if you're drawn to this as a fan of him, I would probably not watch it. It is him in a more serious drama role. Star performance of Greta Gerwig, who despite playing the humble and demure Florence, seemed to remarkably outshine Stiller and Rhys Ifans.

Overall, I'd say this was an average film but would probably not be on my list of recommendations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 December 2010
I can see why this has divided peoples opinions. Not much happens, but Ben Stiller is remarkable. His unpredictable character made my skin crawl and made me feel very uncomfortable. I agree that in real life Laurence would have run a mile from a person like him - then again she was supposed to be a little unhinged I guess. Rhys Ifans was under-used though. Some great lines but a very unsatisfactory ending.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
In a world where we are bombarded by explosion-packed & drug-fuelled cinema, selling fast cars and sexy women, it is far too easy to miss the films like Greenberg. Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder) plays Roger Greenberg, our eponymous loser who is spending some time at his much more successful brother's house to recuperate from a nervous-breakdown and a stint in the puzzle-factory. When he meets his brother's PA/Housekeeper Florence (Greta Gerwig) he instigates an awkward relationship that neither find very fulfilling but keep defaulting back to as a result of having nothing else in their lives. Roger looks up his old bandmates (Rhys Ifans - Notting Hill- amongst them) and tries to reconnect with old friends with mixed success.

Well directed by Noah Baumbach there are some great arty-shots, this is a touching film that will make you assess yourself as you watch Roger bumble through his distinctly average life. The experience left me wondering what I had just watched but it did make me think for a long time after the credits had rolled. A weird and wonderful film about love, life and friendship that at first glance may feel a bit slow-paced and low on gags but has a lot of subtext.

The DVD has some funny out-takes of Stiller, true-to-form for him and also stars a novel menu interface, but apart from that it's really not that special or unique. Recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2013
I love this film and have seen it three times now, though it's not for everyone, as it's hard to define either as comedy or as romance. Stiller, Greenberg in the film, is the often unpleasant, loser brother of a far more successful Californian sibling, who comes to stay at his brother's place while they go on holiday. There, he is supposed to be looking after the dog but instead gets involved with his brother's lost soul of a home help. Essentially a story about two drifters clinging to one another for a variety of motives, the film refuses to make either a hero, which is why it can make for uncomfortable viewing.
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on 29 May 2014
As other reviewers have pointed, out this is not your mainstream romantic comedy, and despite one of the reviews quoted on the case, I really can't see many people seeing it as 'very funny'. Ben Stiller does a good job of portraying Greenberg, a man with a lot of problems who spends most of his time angry at something. In a typical romantic comedy Florence (Greta Gerwig) would have been the cute, quirky lady that falls in love with him and saves him from himself. in fact Florence seems to have many issues of her own and even at the end it was not that clear to me was how she feels about Greenberg. Rhys Ifans plays an old friend in a much more low key role than I am used to seeing him in, and the plot ambles along through various issues. Having said its not 'very funny', I did find that towards the end having got used to the character, some of Greenberg's comments did raise a smile. The plot synopsis seemed to imply that Greenberg has issues in his past (old girlfriend and failed record deal) which he tries to address, but this does not seem to be a big part of the plot and there appears to be no clear resolution on this. The relationship between Greenberg and Florence is not a great romance and the ending is itself pretty inconclusive so although at times engaging, at the end I felt it was not really clear what the point was.
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