Greenberg

(MA) Universal DVD/BD

Night at the Museum’s Ben Stiller is in “serious actor” mode here, so keep the kids away. Adults also should proceed with caution because the latest abrasive character study from writer-director Noah Baumbach (Margot at the Wedding, The Squid and the Whale) again cranks up the witty misanthropy, as if competing with Woody Allen’s curmudgeon dramas.

Roger Greenberg (Stiller) is a selfish, deluded 40-something whose unsunny disposition clashes with his glowing Los Angeles surroundings.

The point of Greenberg isn’t readily apparent, as our passive-aggressive “hero” denigrates his few mates and is somewhat abusive in his wonky relationship with free-spirit Florence (the charming Greta Gerwig).

Feeling sorry for Greenberg’s hollow, loveless life is tested by his disinterest in changing.  Baumbach never celebrates Greenberg’s angered isolation and shows it for what it is — destitute.

Ben McEachen

 

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