Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg” = LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends”


In the trailer for Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, Ben Stiller (who plays the title character) complains that no one calls him on his birthday anymore, writes an angry letter to Starbucks, and worries that he’ll catch the illness that’s afflicting his dog. “I’m freaked out by you kids because your parents were too perfect at parenting, all that Baby Mozart and Dan Zanes songs. You’re all ADD and carpal tunnel,” he says to a room full of 20-somethings. “I hope I die before I end up meeting one of you in a job interview.”

Yes, it looks like Greenberg, which comes out next March, is Baumbach’s take on aging. After the jump, check out the first trailer and follow along as we pass premature judgment.

Greenberg‘s protagonist seems to have reached middle age without growing up. Like Judd Apatow’s anti-heroes, he’s stuck in perpetual adolescence, out of a job, and not terribly motivated to find a new one. But his life begins to turn around when he agrees to house sit for his well-off younger brother, gets back in touch with a former bandmate (Rhys Ifans), and makes friends with his brother’s assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig).

The story, scripted by Baumbach and Jennifer Jason Leigh (who also acts in Greenberg), doesn’t seem revolutionary at a time when man-boy comedy seems to rule the multiplex. Yet there are some promising elements. Note that LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends,” which could stand in for a monologue by Greenberg, plays in the background of the trailer. And we learn, at the end of the clip, that the band’s mastermind James Murphy — the bard of aging-hipster anthems — will be contributing original music to the film.

Also, while we’re fairly sick of Stiller’s shtick, Baumbach seems to have toned down his over-the-top style for Greenberg. (Plus, we can’t help noting that the filmmaker seems to have styled Greenberg to look something like himself.)

Meanwhile, fans of Joe Swanberg and the Duplass brothers will be happy to see their lo-fi ingenue, Greta Gerwig, star in more mainstream fare.

Finally, this is Noah Baumbach we’re talking about. He hasn’t let us down yet, so we may as well give him the benefit of the doubt.