CATEGORIES Reviews
In 'Greenberg,' writer-director Noah Baumbach ('The Squid and the Whale,' 'Margot at the Wedding') takes his brand of indie filmmaking out of New York and ventures west.

His latest feature stars a pared-down Ben Stiller in the titular role of Roger Greenberg, an emotionally unstable, unlikeable layabout who travels from New York to Los Angeles after suffering a nervous breakdown to house-sit for his wealthier, more successful brother while he is off on vacation with his family.

While there, the unmoored, forty-ish Greenberg attempts to get back in touch with his old bandmates (including one played by Rhys Ifans) and befriends his brother's personal assistant (Greta Gerwig,) a fellow musician who, as it turns out, is a little lost and drifting herself.

Baumbach came up with the story along with his real-life wife, Jennifer Jason Leigh (who also appears on screen in a supporting role as Greenberg's ex-girlfriend). And critics were generally in favor of this movie, out in limited release Friday. 'Greenberg' has also earned praise for newcomer Gerwig and particularly Stiller, who, free from any sort of over-the-top Zoolander trappings, ably delivers a nuanced performance as a self-absorbed, unsympathetic character without resorting to endearing eccentricities.

Check out the reviews after the jump. In 'Greenberg,' writer-director Noah Baumbach ('The Squid and the Whale,' 'Margot at the Wedding') takes his brand of indie filmmaking out of New York and ventures west.

His latest feature stars a pared-down Ben Stiller in the titular role of Roger Greenberg, an emotionally unstable, unlikeable layabout who travels from New York to Los Angeles after suffering a nervous breakdown to house-sit for his wealthier, more successful brother while he is off on vacation with his family.

While there, the unmoored, forty-ish Greenberg attempts to get back in touch with his old bandmates (including one played by Rhys Ifans) and befriends his brother's personal assistant (Greta Gerwig,) a fellow musician who, as it turns out, is a little lost and drifting herself.

Baumbach came up with the story along with his real-life wife, Jennifer Jason Leigh (who also appears on screen in a supporting role as Greenberg's ex-girlfriend). And critics were generally in favor of this movie, out in limited release Friday. 'Greenberg' has also earned praise for newcomer Gerwig and particularly Stiller, who, free from any sort of over-the-top Zoolander trappings, ably delivers a nuanced performance as a self-absorbed, unsympathetic character without resorting to endearing eccentricities.

Read the reviews below, and then let us know what you think.

The New Yorker: "Honorably, the movie is not the usual rigid-arc fable of redemption. It insists that screwed-up people have a right to their oddities, but it also holds out the hope that they will learn a little bit about life and move on."

Entertainment Weekly: "Although 'Greenberg' is Baumbach's most self-lacerating picture yet, there is something undeniably compelling about the surgical precision with which the filmmaker picks at neuroses that feel very personal. ... His movies are addictive dispatches from a genteel jungle of white privilege, where highly educated people behave badly. I can't take my eyes off the exotic wildlife."

'Greenberg' Trailer


The Hollywood Reporter
: "While winning no points for originality, Baumbach and his co-conspirator in the script, Jennifer Jason Leigh ... have created an all-too-convincing portrait of a 40-year-old man in emotional freefall. ... the movie is a brave one for both the filmmakers and their star, Ben Stiller."

The Village Voice: "Baumbach is a notably literate filmmaker -- his Greenberg is a defeated cousin to Saul Bellow's similarly obsessed Moses Herzog. ... 'Greenberg' is a movie of throwaway one-liners and evocatively nondescript locations. The style is observational, the drama is understated, and, when the time comes, it knocks you out with the subtlest of badda-booms."

The New York Observer: "Greenberg is a narcissist, a misanthrope and an annoying back-seat driver, with just enough ego and OCD that it should have been a terribly hard character to root for, except Mr. Stiller has managed to infuse his character with a mysteriously unshakable appeal ... . But it's one of my favorite Stiller performances, perhaps precisely because it is such a surprisingly nuanced turn."