Quirky but lacking direction

Quirky but lacking direction

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By Barry C Chung

When director Noah Baumbach first came up with the idea for Greenberg, he knew the film's location would be significant.

Baumbach and location manager Stephenson Crossley decided Los Angeles would be ideal, and they agreed to shoot the film in seven weeks - roughly the same amount of time character Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) remains in the city.

'Los Angeles plays such a big part in Greenberg that it's another character, adding to the vibe of the film,' Crossley says.

Florence Marr (Greta Gerwig) is an aspiring singer hoping to make it in this dog-eat-dog town. She is employed by the Greenberg family as a personal assistant, tending to the every whim of Phillip Greenberg (Chris Messina).

Roger, a self-indulgent 40-something, once had a promising musical career in Los Angeles but blew it and relocated to New York. Although he's intelligent and witty, he occasionally masquerades as a carpenter and lives day-to-day 'doing nothing'.

Roger treks from New York to Los Angeles to house-sit the Greenbergs' Hollywood Hills home. All attempts to reconnect with old pals fail, as most have moved on. But Roger and Florence are drawn to each other.

The film has its quirky Ben Stiller moments but, like Roger, Greenberg is directionless and awkward - it doesn't know where it wants to go or what to convey.

YP rating: 2/5

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