“Ben Stiller” and “independent movie” are words that typically don’t emerge in the same sentence. Be that as it may, Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg incorporates both. Stiller, who’s mainly seen in varying comedic films such as Dodgeball and Zoolander, is able to have his kooky side reigned in long enough to get the performance that Baumbach was probably looking for. Even so, the movie is somewhat hard to read and slightly off-putting which doesn’t help things entirely.
Stiller does well in acting like a socially distant misfit and the dialogue that Baumbach has written is quirky and awkward enough so that lovers of Wes Anderson flicks will get a giggle. Unfortunately everything that’s said doesn’t always come off simply. What I mean is that there is a great deal of aloofness floating around in the movie, enough, so that I can imagine people would come out of the theater being unamused or reasonably perplexed by what they had just seen.
Anderson’s influence can clearly be seen, but Baumbach is not able to execute the dry comedic points as expertly, which is a shame. It would have been nice to see a movie such as this one that was delivered with gusto. I’m not saying that the movie is bad, because it really isn’t; in fact it’s intelligent, charming, and reflects some of the pain that we all go through at one point or another.
In the end, Greenberg is more concerned with making its own movie then pleasing the audience with outrageous laughter. It doesn’t shy away from its theme, message, what-have-you, and maintains more realism than some of its indi-movie counterparts.