I really like Ben Stiller in more serious, tone-down comedic roles. Zero Effect, Flirting with Disaster, The Royal Tenenbaums, that type of stuff. And I really like Noah Baumbach movies. The Squid and the Whale, Kicking and Screaming (no, not the Will Ferrell soccer crap), and Mister Jealousy, for example. So putting the two together should work out just peachy.
We don't see much of Stiller in the first ten minutes of Greenberg. But the little we do see gives the indication that it is indeed gonna be a good pairing. A toned-down Ben Stiller in a toned-down movie. Seems like a perfect fit.
What we do see a lot of in the first ten minutes is relative newcomer Greta Gerwig. (In fact, we see all of her in one scene, although it's a less-than-exciting scene.) It's hard to tell if I'm gonna like Gerwig or not. She's not hot, but she's kinda pretty in a poorman's Kate Winslet sort of way. It's hard to tell just yet how much charisma she possesses, cuz she doesn't speak a whole lot in these first ten minutes.
But I think Gerwig and toned-down Ben Stiller will be an interesting match. And I wanna see what Baumbach will do with the story and these two kinda attractive but kinda not attractive actors. Their first meeting is somewhat awkward (as expected in this type of unexpected love story), and I'm curious to see how their relationship develops. So I wanna keep watching and stuff.
Well, I'm a little disappointed. Greenberg isn't a bad movie, but it's not great either. It's very slow, and I didn't connect much with the characters. Greenberg has psychological problems that we're supposed to sympathize with, but he just comes across as an everything-hating dick. And Gerwig's character just seems like an idiot for liking him and giving him chance after chance to screw things up. Maybe I just missed the point.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, they play an entire Steve Miller song during the first four minutes of this film. This unfortunately makes me want to rip my ears off of my head, which would make it hard to watch the film. Great, now I have the stupid Steve Miller clapping song in my head, but I can't think of any of the words, so all I hear in my head is the clap-clap-clap-clap-clap part. I was hoping that writing it down right here would somehow get it out of my head, like a send-off. Nope, it's still there.
Okay, back to the movie. Sorry, that was just really distracting. I like a slow indie flick, but this feels reallllllly slow. I think there is an intense amount of focus on Greta Gerwig in the first ten minutes of the film, and the odd thing is that I still don't really know anything about her character. I'm assuming she is amazing, thus the focus. I am going to give Noah Baumbach the benefit of the doubt because I think he is brilliant. The Squid and the Whale is one of my favorite films, so the level of expectation is high. I am, however, leery after having watched his last movie, Margot at the Wedding. Brian just told me that Noah Baumbach co-wrote Fantastic Mr. Fox, so the expectation level just rose. But some amazing shit is going to need to happen in order for me to get over the Steve Miller trauma.
Also, why does Ben Stiller look ugly all of the sudden? I think it's his haircut. I have a similar haircut. I wonder if I would look way more attractive with a different haircut. Anyhow, 2.5 stars for the Steve Miller slap in the face and a super slow start. I hope this comes back.
(Bri: It's pretty late, so she pooped out as expected. We'll do a two-nighter and finish it tomorrow.)
Sadly, this didn't live up to the standards I wanted it to. Noah Baumbach, please come back soon!