‘Greenberg’ Gets Raves
With Ben Stiller as the shlemiel
Greenberg, the new film from writer/director Noah Baumbach and starring Ben Stiller, comes out today. Considering it last week, Tablet Magazine’s Marissa Brostoff reported that while “there is little overt Jewishness” (except for the title!), Stiller’s protagonist fits squarely in the venerable tradition of the Jewish shlemiel. (Among other things, he writes letters to random famous people, a la Saul Bellow’s Herzog.)
Jewish or no, reviews pretty overwhelmingly suggest that it’s a recommended weekend activity.
• A.O. Scott of The New York Times calls it “the funniest and saddest movie Mr. Baumbach has made so far, and also the riskiest.”
• In the line that most makes me want to see it, the Village Voice’s J. Hoberman raves, “This is Stiller’s juiciest role since he cast himself as Zoolander, and here, he’s even more comically self-absorbed.”
• The Los Angeles Times’s Betsy Sharkey is one of the few unenthusiastic voices: “It’s sometimes difficult to figure out whether it’s [Stiller’s character] Roger or Baumbach who has lost his way.”
• “Greenberg pulls you in,” says Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers. “Even when you laugh, like in the climactic party scene, it hurts.”
• David Denby, of The New Yorker, concludes, “Honorably, the movie is not the usual rigid-arc fable of redemption. It insists that screwed-up people have a right to their oddities, but it also holds out the hope that they will learn a little bit about life and move on.”
Related: Look Out! [Tablet Magazine]
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