Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 23 April 2010 00:00
• It was a definite obligation!
• How could I not see this movie?
• Every person who saw it, hated it!
• My family name was involved!
• Lorraine, my beautiful wife, refused to see it!
• You must have guessed the title by now.
• It got three stars in Newsday.
I went to see it on a beautiful sunlit day and there were only four people, besides myself, in the theater. The movie was entitled Greenberg, just one word. I sat in the movie house and I waited, and I waited for something to happen. It never happened!
Did you ever spend two hours with a lunatic? I didn’t care what his name was. He was not a member of my family and I thank the stars for that. He was asocial, mean, awkward and cruel. I do not know which group he belongs in. Was it “Paranoia-Schizophrenia” or just plain manic depression (today called polarization)? He seemed to be a combination of all three.
The one good line of the movie epitomized Greenberg: “Hurt People, hurt people.”
I have never been a Ben Stiller fan. His lack of a recognizable neck gives him a primate appearance. But in this movie he acted very successfully. I could not identify with Roger Greenberg, the person he played. He did not remind me of any Greenberg I knew or ever met. I have always maintained it is harder for an actor to play a nice normal person living an ordinary, routine existence than to play a raving maniac who does outlandish things.
In print I have seldom reviewed films or actors. Because my surname was involved I have stepped to the plate to condemn this film. The female lead was well played by an actress I have never seen before, Greta Gerwig. She was vulnerable and the target of much of Greenberg’s tirades. I liked her performance and she was extremely convincing.
The movies and Hollywood in general try to bring us characters and plots that are varied, touching and occasionally insightful. Spending two hours with a character who was barely healthy mentally was not a pleasant or an educational episode in my humble life.
Advice: Read the reviews but be prepared to be bewildered if they miss the mark.