Scott Rudin Productions,  Focus Features

Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rhys Infans

Whoa, I am nowhere near the intellectual guy who would be required to like this movie.  I waited and waited and waited for something to get better and it never did.  I didn’t turn it off, but I should have.  The very ending was horrible.  I hoped for some closure, but nothing.

First some background.  I like Ben Stiller.  I have enjoyed most of his movies.   “Meet the Parents” is truly one of the funniest movies ever made.  But he has nothing going for him in this film.

Now if you’re an art house movie fanatic. you might have a totally different opinion that I do, but here goes.

Roger Greenberg (Stiller) is a loser in every sense of the word.  Apparently back in the past he made a really BAD choice which caused his band to lose the one big chance they had to make it big.  He goes into a long explanation of what the though, and why he made the choice he did, but it’s too little, too late for the rest of the band members who moved on and left him behind.

Roger is, as he claims, a carpenter who has decided to do nothing for a while.  So he moves from New York City to Hollywood to house-sit his brother’s house, and reconnect with all the friends he left behind.   Some are happy to see him, but most are not quite ready to forgive.

Roger truly means it when he says he doesn’t want to do anything for a while.   He really has NOTHING to do.  And basically we have nothing to do but watch him with nothing to do.

He dabbles in drugs, and messes around with kids who he thinks are sexy and inviting, but doesn’t understand because he’s been in a vacuum for years and years.

We have very little to get involved with or to care about.  Roger is a jerk, and he basically stays a jerk.  We watch him being a jerk for 90 minutes and when we’re done, we really don’t care whether he is any different or not.  I’m not sure he’s really changed.  I guess people usually don’t.

Basically this is a very small independent film, and it’s an original story .   The screenplay was written by Noah Baumbach, who is the director,  on a story by Jennifer Jason Leigh who has a real small role in the film.  Basically they were setting out to write an artsy story like it ended up, so they accomplished what they were setting out to do.  It’s just that Roger is not a very interesting person.

There was a great deal of attention put into the point that Roger is a New Yorker and therefore doesn’t drive.  So they filmed this is a Hollywood neighborhood and have him walking everywhere he goes.  For an LA movie, this creates an interesting effect.  Here where people drive 70 miles for dinner sometimes, having to base the whole movie in a small neighborhood is an interesting effect.

There are 3 “extra features” on this DVD, which have a total of about 5 minutes altogether, and they are really lame.   I am sure there are some lovers of this type of film who will like this,  so feel free to blast me as a shallow and unenlightened.  I notice that this is a love/hate movie.  Nobody rates it in the middle.  Either it’s a 1 or 5.   But for me,  I just couldn’t find enough in the story to make it interesting in the least.

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