Roger Greenberg is prickly, paranoid and petty. It's Ben Stiller's best role since his winning "loser" in There's Something about Mary.
Greenberg is 40, fresh out of a mental institution and tasked with housesitting his wealthy brother's place. While lolling around this vast Californian pad he bumps into his brother's lovely 26-year-old PA, Florence (Greta Gerwig), and he takes an interest – sort of – in her. One night, he drops by her flat, demands some booze, takes a gulp of Corona before they engage in a curtailed and excruciating to witness sex act. And excruciating is the key word, as always, in Baumbach's latest slice of dysfunction among America's well-heeled. Stiller's Greenberg is an emotional blank who busies himself with writing letters of complaint to various firms and wishes, petulantly, to put his old band back together. Many years before he blew his chances of rock success, when he refused to a sign a record contract – for reasons unclear. His only pal (a subdued Rhys Ifans, and all the better for it) is understandably reluctant to get involved.
Greenberg is a smart, amusing and uncomfortable film about a certain type of man who is irredeemably beyond repair. A toxic presence who will never be content with his lot.