The Jewish Journal breaks down Ben Stiller’s forthcoming film "Greenberg."
“Night at the Museum” and “Meet the Parents” franchises made Ben Stiller one of the biggest comic superstars of his generation, the actor played the dramatic lead in a riveting independent film, “Permanent Midnight,” based on Jerry Stahl’s memoir of battling drug addiction while working as a television writer. At the time, Stiller told me he was drawn to “Permanent Midnight” because, like Stahl, he considered himself “funny and Jewish and not particularly confident or comfortable” in his own skin. He added that he felt “somewhat of an outcast in the WASP culture;” and that he has felt pressured to assimilate not because he is self-hating, but because he hates when people typecast him.
A dozen years later, the now 44-year-old Stiller has made another independent film in which he plays an even more prickly dramatic lead, this one a bona fide self-hater (Jewish and otherwise) awash in midlife crisis. Stiller portrays the eponymous anti-hero in Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg,” which opens March 19 and revolves around a fortyish misanthrope who is “a potentially repellent walking contradiction, an emotional porcupine who uses what he perceives as brutal honesty in order to perpetuate a big lie, that is, that he doesn’t really need anybody else,” the Hollywood Reporter said.