Greenberg - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Greenberg Reviews

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½ October 9, 2016
This film should be re-titled "Unnecessary Details: The Movie". I can't recall how many times I asked myself, "What's the point of this scene? How does this further the plot?" It was only when the credits began rolling that I came to the grim realization that there was no plot. Greenberg is a sort of Jackson Polluck of story-telling, wherein random scenes are cobbled together and it is left to the befuddled audiences to grok from meaning from it all. I get that this is supposed to represent some sort of realism, but often it feels like I'm listening to a slightly crazy co-worker ramble about their tired problems for the 20th time; as if I care. I'd recommend skipping this meandering mess and go with something more entertaining.
September 11, 2016
I don't know why but I have always made an unfair connection between Ben Stiller and halfwit, Adam Sandler. Having seen this, which is basically an indie Punch Drunk Love, the connection becomes strangely stronger. In both films, the funnyman turns unfunny nutter and manages to find a woman who'll see past their problems. Fans of Stiller, the comedian, as I am, will be disappointed by this, as I was.
August 28, 2016
Florence Marr (Greta Gerwig) is the assistant to Phillip Greenberg (Chris Messina), and now the entire family is packing for a trip to Vietnam. Phillip explains that his brother, Roger (Ben Stiller), will be staying in the house while they are away, and he asks Florence to help Roger if he needs anything. His wife, Carol (Susan Traylor), confides that Roger has just been released from a hospital after suffering a nervous breakdown. Roger is a washed-up failed musician and works now as a carpenter and has been hired by Phillip to build a dog house for their dog, Mahler. Roger doesn't drive, and needs Florence's help, especially with Mahler. He's also connecting with former band-mates and an old crush. He over-analyzes, has a short fuse, and doesn't laugh at himself easily. As he navigates through past and present, he's his own saboteur. He needs to find himself while re-connecting with the past in order to move on with his life...

On Rotten Tomatoes, the consensus reads: "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." Kurt Loder of MTV News wrote, "The movie is set up as a quirky romance between two lost souls, but in the end it seems more like a stalemate than a love match." David Edelstein of New York Magazine lamented: "Greenberg would be a heckuva movie if we could just get Greenberg out of there." Christopher Tookey of the Daily Mail was perhaps the most harsh critic of the film: "This is the kind of low-budget movie that attracts respectful reviews, but tiny audiences. That's because there's virtually no story or character development and the main character's an idiot." The main issue with "Greenberg" is that Roger is so unlikable it's quite impossible to root for him. He is polarizing, hurting and hurtful. His mental issues manifest themselves through various phobias and idiosyncrasies, which points to the fact that his is just afraid of life and of taking risks that could possibly lead to failure. He avoids large groups of people, writes endless letters of complaints to companies he feels have somehow screwed him over, overreacts to other people's words and actions, and makes a general antisocial and sociopathic pain-in-the-ass of himself. He is as well psychologically abusive to Florence, that carries her own share of vulnerabilities, whom he keeps pushing away with his eccentric behavior. Throughout the film he is a pain in the ass for everyone around him and you quickly realise that Roger is just someone you would´ve cut out of your own personal life. Why the other characters don´t do that, like Ivan, is a mystery to me. He makes himself so hard to like and he can´t see why people don´t like him alas no knowledge of the self. There´s moments when he actually shows a deeper understanding of his ways and actions, but not enough. He never reaches some sort of closure with himself. Even if we are told that he just been released from a mental institution, you simply forget about that in the equation as the character development is static and we see no real change in him. And when you put together two socially challenged characters as Florence and Roger you need a greater dynamic which is missing here in my point of view. Greta Gerwig does a great job as the physically and emotionally awkward Florence, while Stiller is just playing an akward moping Stiller in a way. Noah Baumbach tries to put another spike into indie heaven, but his progressive story is all over the place with no real direction. The attempt to adding some black comedy doesn´t work either. Do we care what happens with him and Florence? Do we care what happens when his brother and his family comes home? Do we care if he manages to actually patch up things with his old bandmates and maybe start playing again? I reckon my answer is no. "Greenberg" fails due to that fact that the film makes it too hard to identify or empathize with the characters, especially Roger, who is just annoyingly self-indulgent and nothing else.
July 25, 2016
I hate everyone, and don't care about them or their shitty lives.
July 24, 2016
This was pretty good. Ben Stiller is an amazing actor and great in this role, surrounding cast not as interesting but worth a watch.
½ July 13, 2016
Its absolutely refreshing but also irritating, Greenberg is about people who live unfulfilled lives. Roger Greenberg fancies himself a carpenter and has just been released from a mental hospital, and he has to house sit while his rich brother vacations in Vietnam. He gets back to being with his old band friend, and also not technically dating but sleeping with his brother's assistant. This is the ultimate anti-romantic comedy, with the unlikeable but honest Roger hurting everyone verbally, because he doesn't have a lot of patience and has weird social cues. The movie downplays the budding romance tropes and makes for an awkward but interesting little picture from Noah Baumbach.
½ June 3, 2016
It gets a lot better in the second half and Ben Stiller is great, in fact he doesn't get enough attention for his performance in this
January 4, 2016
Funny, sad, rambly, introspective. A look at a weirdo and how uncomfortable and awkward falling in love can be.
½ December 16, 2015
Baumbach is an acquired taste, but I'm glad I bit through the apple.
½ December 15, 2015
Being annoying can still make you cool, can't it?
½ October 29, 2015
very odd atmosphere but a little movie I enjoyed
½ October 20, 2015
Clever and darkly funny, Greenberg may have a simple storyline, but thanks to Ben Stiller's great performance, it really works.

Grade: A-
½ August 24, 2015
Moderately funny but deeply flawed in its misguided focus on an uninteresting and vapid asshole of a main character who's essentially a collection of indie clichés stitched together, Greenberg is a lesser Baumbach endeavor that fails as both a romance and a comedy (additionally, someone needs to put a stop to this recent trend of indie films treating their characters' mental illnesses as if they were some quirky and endearing source of comedy).
August 21, 2015
Greenberg is definitely a unique film. Stiller's acting is strong and his character is mysterious and unpredictable. It has a slow-paced plot, and a "less is more" attitude. I definitely had to think before rating this, and it probably would've been pretty mediocre if not for the strong performances and solid finish. Greenberg isn't really entertaining, but it's definitely interesting.
July 31, 2015
It's not the insipid, cliched, indie garbage that it appeared to be.

The cast does pretty good work here. For the most part these are all good characters, despite their obvious foibles. Even Ben Stiller is commendable in his role. In fact, Stiller's protagonist is so out-of-the box insane that he transcends the usual cliches you'd normally associate with a narcissistic, manic-depressive, free spirit in an indie dramedy. Whatever his mental disorder, he thinks and reacts in such random, unthinkable, deplorable ways, that one can't help but find this portrayal refreshing (thankfully, the people around him also react appropriately to his anti-social behavior). This also makes him feel more genuine, like he really is capturing the tortured state of mind of a real segment of society.

Equally important, the script is strong. It is often quite witty, and it offers plenty of interesting (again, not cliched) situations in which to demonstrate the disorder of Stiller's character's mind.
½ July 20, 2015
Greenberg is a travel over the thin line between humor and pain. Ben Stiller and Greta Gerwig did a good job together.
July 4, 2015
Roger Greenberg may just be the most unlikable character Noah Baumbach has ever put on screen, and Ben Stiller is exceptional as this incredibly irresponsible, selfish, neurotic asshole who complains about everything (I mean, EVERYTHING around him.) Average moviegoers would find this man quite obnoxious and not relatable at all. I wouldn't be surprised.

But boy, this character fascinated me so much; the movie is so engaging to watch because we all know people like him, and Stiller gives his best and most nuanced performance of his career. Greta Gerwig, Baumbach's muse, is so damn likable and approachable as Florence. I love everything she does and she is really good in here. Rhys Ifans also does a great job as Ivan, Greenberg's ex-band mate. I loved Baumbach's direction and his darkly comical script, which was co-written by his then-wife Jennifer Jason Leigh. He skillfully walks on the thin line between humor and heartbreak. Greenberg may be hard to watch, but it is definitely worth seeing.
½ June 4, 2015
The characters are so complex, but understandable. Although it's a likable movie, it's not totally enjoyable.
May 15, 2015
A nice quirky movie.
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