WARNING: This film is that uniquely frustrating blend of independent cinema neuroses and Hollywood sentiments that inspire pure, unadulterated loathing in many people. Proceed with caution.
Once that warning is out of the way then we can talk about all the things (and there are certainly a good few of them) that there are to like about Greenberg. First and foremost the cast. Ben Stiller has rarely been on better (acting) form than he is here and he’s well complemented by the rest of the cast. Greta Gerwig, long a darling of independent cinema and particularly the mumblecore movement, makes the step up to the mainstream here and carries it out with aplomb. She’s very definitely ‘real world’, and I mean that in the most offensive way, and it works well with the emaciated and deliberately un-airbrushed look that Stiller is going with.
Throw Rhys Ifans into the mix as the token Welshman abroad and you’ve got a nice little buddy movie/romance that doesn’t take its subject matter too seriously. This might frustrate some people, especially as the film takes its time getting to the point of the movie and even then is not totally transparent. But despite the leisurely pacing and lack of atmosphere, it is a rewardingly fresh portrait of middle age Californian life.
Special Features: Only 7 minutes worth of extras, not worth buying for these alone I’m afraid.