At a crossroads in his life in New York, Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) takes some time to figure things out and travels to Los Angeles, where he house-sits for his brother and forges an unlikely bond with his brother’s assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig). Noah Baumbach’s (The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding) directs this relationship comedy also starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Rhys Ifans.
Rating: 4 out of 10
I get it that our protagonists aren’t always dashing, heroic, or likable characters. But in this case, I was so annoyed with the character and Stiller’s performance that I couldn’t enjoy this movie.
I think Baumbach is an intriguing director who understands story-telling while pulling great performances from his actors. His films have been fun to watch, and while this movie has a lot of visual style, it’s boring.
Stiller plays a loser who has avoided being happy his entire life by sabotaging it at every turn — he screwed up his band’s contract offer from a label, dates women who won’t make him happy, and keep those who do care about him at bay. There were some nice aspects to this film. I think Baumbach showed Los Angeles in an interesting light, one that’s very normal, kind of gritty and not the usual sexy, crazy location that it isn’t in reality. Stiller wasn’t ready for this role and he was the wrong choice. I didn’t care about any of the characters, and found it to be forgettable.