Greenberg (2010)


Critic Consensus: Greenberg's title character is harder to like than most, but Ben Stiller's nuanced performance and a darkly funny script help take the misanthropic edge off.


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Movie Info

A New Yorker moves to Los Angeles in order to figure out his life while he housesits for his brother, and he soon sparks with his brother's assistant.

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Ben Stiller
as Roger Greenberg
Rhys Ifans
as Ivan Schrank
Greta Gerwig
as Florence Marr
Chris Messina
as Phillip Greenberg
Susan Traylor
as Carol Greenberg
Mark Duplass
as Eric Beller
Trace Webb
as Victor
Koby Rouviere
as Greenberg Boy
Sydney Rouviere
as Greenberg Girl
Charlotte Vida Silverman
as Beller's Daughter
Emily Lacy
as Gallery Band Member
Aaron Wrinkle
as Gallery Band Member
Heather Lockie
as Gallery Band Member
Chris Coy
as Guy at Gallery
Nicole Luizzi
as Vet Receptionist
Luke Clements
as Guitarist
Jeremy Barber
as Musso and Frank's Patron
Anna Culp
as Musso and Frank's Patron
Erica Huggins
as Musso and Frank's Patron
Dale JE Herbert II
as Musso and Frank's Patron
Sophie Savides
as Musso and Frank's Patron
Jessica Mills
as Second Vet Receptionist
Layla Delridge
as Girl With Beer
Nick Nordella
as Kid at Stereo
Trent Gill
as Kid at Stereo
Emily Kuntz
as Party Guest
Zosia Mamet
as Party Guest
Zoe Di Stefano
as Party Guest
Cole M. Greif-Neil
as Party Guest
Micah Shaffer
as Guy With Joint
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Critic Reviews for Greenberg

All Critics (170) | Top Critics (38)

As a study of stasis and of people conscious of not living the lives they had imagined for themselves, the picture offers a bracing undertow of seriousness beneath the deceptively casual, dramatically offhand surface.

Jul 6, 2010
Top Critic

This is a movie about the awful shock of early middle age, the sudden realisation that you are not one of the young people any more. Like a wasp, it delivers a sharp sting of sadness.

Jun 10, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

A film of powerful, memorable moments -- some striking dialogue, some great performances, a handful of beautifully played, bracingly discomfiting love scenes -- in search of a structure and, perhaps, a soul.

Jun 8, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Noah Baumbach again investigates psychologically screwed-up people, although this time with much less comedic impact.

Apr 16, 2010

Stiller is expert at playing self-indulgent types unaware of their boorishness, and Greenberg is no exception.

Mar 31, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

What saves it, however, is Gerwig. The love story ain't credible, but her performance is, perfectly capturing a young woman who doesn't lack confidence so much as a sense of self.

Mar 26, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Greenberg


Every now and again comes a movie with a backstory much more interesting than what's onscreen. How to live the life we get as opposed to living the life we hope for, is the gist of the work itself, played in particular by Stiller as a unhappy man who unwittingly spreads his unhappiness wherever he goes. He meets a young woman in L.A. (Greta Gerwig) who alleviates that torture somewhat and they venture uncertainly into a future together. Noah Baumbach wrote the story (he also directs) with the wife he was divorcing in real life, Jennifer Jason Leigh (who also co-stars), before taking up with Gerwig. Now there's a set that must've been some big fun to be on, eh? Nonetheless, the work itself ultimately feels tired.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Perhaps it is an honest film, but not much fun to watch.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

Baumbach has cemented himself stylistically with the likes of Wes Anderson because his films have their own cache of interesting and definitely flawed individuals. What his films lack in nuance and jarring cinematography, are made up for with their writing. These people do not have the same impact as some of the kooky and always blank faced characters of his past films. Instead of the sage sarcasm and indifferent irony of past films, it takes a look at the lives of Generation X nowadays. They're obviously aged, still rocking out to the same awesome music, but now these people are espousing the dreams of their lost generation much like their elders did to them twenty years ago. Roger Greenberg (Stiller) epitomizes a man going through a mid-life crisis, those that are trying to fit into a former generation, and those that have missed out on opportunities. "Greenberg" is a story that's been told various times, to an unhealthy extent, and though it's always interesting to watch the pitfalls of any sordid individual, Greenberg is not a strong enough character to hold an entire film. Most of Baumbach's films have had an ensemble cast with remarkable characters, but here most of them are pointless add-ons. His former friends barely have any lines, his brother's family is onscreen for mere minutes, and even Florence (Gerwig) is predictable. Roger Greenberg is supposed to be a bit eccentric, definitely guarded and anti-social, but these flaws do not make the character interesting. He's a bit misanthropic but not to an extent that makes him completely sealed off from the outside world, and he's not strange enough to make for an interesting character study. The party scene is really the only window into his psyche, but besides that there's very little to satisfy the viewer. Even Greta Gerwig, Baumbach's recent muse and girlfriend, doesn't have a character with any extinguishing characteristics, except that she likes Greenberg, and that she isn't living the life that her college education allows. There are certainly great themes to the film but this just isn't the story of a thoughtless pariah that one expects.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Florence Marr: Hurt people hurt people. "He's got a lot on his mind." Greenberg is a movie made in a style that a really enjoy. No real beginning, no real end, but only how life really goes. It's truly what we could call a "real life" movie. Now I can understand why many wouldn't have appreciation for a film like Greenberg. It doesn't care about creating laughs or tears, but only in presenting an unlikable character in Roger Greenberg. There's a lot of themes rolling out of this character, so if you like character driven movies, you should be able to like this one. Roger comes back to LA from New York and is staying at his rich brothers place while he is on vacation with his family in Vietnam. His brother has a young personal assistant named Florence who was told that she may need to help Roger with some things and that he's just getting out of a mental hospital and is a little unstable. Roger and Florence begin seeing each other in an awkward and weird sort of way, while Roger struggles with some of his past disappointments and relationships. The movie is slow and not strong on "entertainment." If you've seen any of Noah Baumbach's movies, you'll recognize it as his right of the bat. He uses characters that are sort of pretentious assholes that believe they know it all. Greenberg is a less pretentious(if only maybe because he isn't as smart) version of the father in Baumbach's masterpiece The Squid and The Whale. Greenberg doesn't quite reach the perfection of that movie, but it is still a really well made, interesting, and at least to me, great movie. You gotta love Ben Stiller in another serious role after doing more silly shit than serious shit over the years. Also I really like Greta Gerwig who has her own demeanor on screen that comes across as very real. Rhys Ifans is just the cherry on top as far as the cast goes. As far story, there's not much needed and I appreciate movies that don't need that much story driven material. This one just let's the title character take over the movie and it works very well.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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