Greenberg Noah Baumbach

Greenberg Noah Baumbach
A movie like Greenberg makes so many nasty assumptions about its audience that it's hard not to be offended while watching it. It's one thing for some Michael Bay Hollywood blockbuster to function through the premise that the viewer is just some slack-jawed, popcorn munching moron satisfied with the spectacle of a bunch of robots punching each other, but the manner in which a filmmaker like Noah Baumbach (and Noah Baumbach, specifically) implicates the viewer in his films is far more insulting. The first of these irritating presumptions is the idea that anyone would find the title character, Ben Stiller's Roger Greenberg (a 41-year-old musician working through a nervous breakdown while house-sitting for his brother), at all sympathetic. Like any astonishingly middle-class artist who grew up sneaking his parents' Prozac, Baumbach assumes that it's okay to be a curmudgeon, a petulant cynic and a genuine asshole as long as it's underlain with some vague implication of mental illness or social anxiety. Next, and perhaps worst, is Greta Gerwig's character, the 20something housekeeper Florence. She's pretty, right? But not beautiful in, like, the supermodel sense. But guess what? She's quirky! She's awkward during foreplay ("I'm wearing kind of an ugly bra," she blurts as Stiller fumbles to undress her). Best of all, she's different. She's not like other girls. Her half-ditzy goofball charisma is endearing! Of course it is, Baumbach, you arrogant ass. And guess what else? Greta Gerwig's a total babe! Only 11 year-olds jerk off to centrefolds and only the meatheads you have so much contempt for would think a woman is "different" because she's kind of frumpy. Oh, and the soundtrack by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, peppered with Galaxie 500 and Albert Hammond, is pretty precious too. This movie is a farce. The DVD is made marginally better by the fact that you can at least bust up lines of coke on the case. Because that's what kids do, right? Certainly the eight minutes of special features, which describe Noah Baumbach in the most pretentious terms imaginable ("he's like a novelist, except he's not good enough to write novels") aren't worth your time. (Alliance)