Noah Baumbach did a great film several years ago called The Squid and the Whale. Wonderful performances by Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg, Laura Linney. Incisive, knowing, brutal. Saw it twice and it held up. He followed that up with the dreary Margot at the Wedding, which got much worse reviews and deservedly so. His new movie Greenberg with Ben Stiller got much better reviews. Not deservedly. Many of the reviews made it sound like the movie was some kind of quintessential LA movie. Not. Any of you see LA Story? Much better. This could have been set anywhere where there are pools, and people who spend lots of money on pets. Which is to say anywhere. Ben Stiller is kind of interesting, there's something going on with his eyes where you kind of get the sense that he's marching to the beat of his own drummer in a way that's very appropriate for the character. But it's the same look for the whole movie, to where you wonder if it's a real performance or a low-key stunt trying to be Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man without the funny edge to it. Yes, it's better than Margot at the Wedding. That doesn't make it good. Shopgirl. That was overrated, too. This is Ben Stiller's Shopgirl.
Then I popped in and walked out of Hot Tub Time Machine. The reviews for this were all over the map, some people saying it was cheap and chintzy and bad, and some saying it was better than Hangover. I left around halfway through, so you can guess whose side I'm taking on that.