A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Monday, March 29, 2010
For a short while, you think Noah Baumbach has recreated the human and humorous elements that made The Squid And The Whale great, but this notion soon fades and by the end you are left with a portrait of a despicable man and some on-goings that just come off as phony. The story focuses on Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller, a beyond neurotic man who writes the airline after his New York to L.A. flight about how their seats don't recline far enough. He is fresh off a nervous breakdown and a stint in a mental home, and is staying in his brother's house while he's on vacation with his family. While in California he meets up with some ex-band members and starts a relationship with his brother's assistant (Greta Gerwig) who he treats more like a concubine. It is despicable how he uses her and how she allows herself to be used, but when we are introduced to his ex-girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh) we realized Greenberg has done this before, and left her heartbroken nonetheless. The film does have nice reflective moments in it like that and is well filmed. It's just that Stiller and Gerwig don't have the acting chops to pull this off, the main character is utterly despisable, and the way his character is brought around and his relationship is portrayed is just plain false.