Greenberg

See this darkly comic character study unburdened by preconceptions. Writer-director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) walks the fragile line between humor and heartbreak. Ben Stiller is exceptional as Roger Greenberg, a failed New York musician housesitting for his brother in the Hollywood Hills and wondering how life sent him adrift. Selfish, neurotic and often an asshole, Roger exists to sweat the small stuff. He's delusional about his ex-girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and his former bandmate (Rhys Ifans). Why his brother's sweet, affectless assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig), would go to bed with this grab bag of dysfunctions is a mystery even to Roger. But not to us. Baumbach tracks Roger without glib condescension. That's why Greenberg pulls you in. Even when you laugh, like in the climactic party scene, it hurts.

 

From The Archives Issue 141: August 16, 1973
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