After a stint in New York and another in a mental institution, Roger Greenberg (Stiller) is single, fortyish and deliberately doing nothing with his life. Wondering how life sent him adrift, he is in search of a place to re-start and agrees to house-sit and look after pet dog Mahler for six weeks in Los Angeles for his younger brother while he vacations with his family in Vietnam. Greenberg grew up in L.A. and often reflects on re-visiting the past, where he clearly feels that his life broke off. However, since envy and paranoia eat away at every connection he seems to make, whether a thorny one with a highly successful, former college bandmate or a reunion with his patient, soft-spoken old friend Ivan (Ifans), who’s living in a motel while separated from his wife and son. But Greenberg is too self-obsessed to notice or care about other people’s problems. The exception is his former girlfriend Beth (Jason Leigh), a divorced mother of two who sets him straight as he awkwardly attempts to rekindle their extinct 15-year-old relationship.
Greenberg soon realises that old friends aren't necessarily still best friends and finds that his vulnerability immediately endears him to his brother’s sweet young assistant, Florence (Gerwig), who helps him navigate Los Angeles and take care of Mahler. What begins as a courtesy to her employer develops into a charmingly eccentric and unexpectedly significant connection. As Greenberg discovers there is only so much “nothing” you can do, the awkward beauty he builds with Florence starts to look more and more like a reason to be happy.
- A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Greenberg: Ben Stiller and the cast talk about the character Roger Greenberg and how they brought this humorous story to life.
- Greenberg Loves Los Angeles: Writer/Director Noah Baumbach shares his aspirations for making the film.
- Noah Baumbach Takes a Novel Approach: Noah Baumbach discusses how essential writing is to filmmaking and how he personally turned to great American novelists for inspiration.