Greenberg movie review: We like Florence (Greta Gerwig): she's considerate, sweet, pretty, and terrific with kids and dogs. She's 26, personal assistant to an L.A. family who's off on vacation. Her boss's brother comes in from New York City, fresh out of an asylum, to stay at the house. He's Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller), a carpenter, 40, gone from L.A. for 15 years. He arrives, doesn't drive, and needs Florence's help, especially with the family dog. He's also connecting with ex-mates - two men and one woman with whom he has a history. He over-analyzes, has a short fuse, and doesn't laugh at himself easily. As he navigates past and present, he's his own saboteur. And what of Florence, is Roger one more responsibility for her or something else?
The buzz: Writer-director Noah Baumbach’s last two movies were the overrated “The Squid and the Whale” and the painfully bitter “Margot at the Wedding.” Stiller’s also on a cold streak, but he's proven to be an interesting actor when a filmmaker, like Neil LaBute and his “Your Friends and Neighbors,” gives him something to do.
The verdict: The film, as with Baumbach’s recent dramas, sometimes feels like an extended therapy session. Yet unlike “Margot,” “Greenberg” blooms into a study of relatable people, not just Baumbach’s own issues. Stiller is very good as a man who doesn’t know much but still thinks he’s the voice of reason in a world that doesn’t get it, and the appealing but directionless Florence is standard territory for Gerwig. The movie’s study of aging and self-loathing examines how meanings change over time while wondering why it’s hard to tell what anything means as it happens..Source: Metromix