Romantic comedies are not really my cup of tea, neither are the Manhattan Jewish types and stereotypes to which the masculine heroes of the two movies I have seen during the last weekend belong. Yet I found myself watching the films I am writing beyond  with mixed and different results. Oh, there is one more common plot trait to the two films besides their heroes vaguely belonging to the Woody Allen brand. They both talk about romantic relations between a 40 years old and a 25 years old. Here I must decline competence. When I was 25 no female looking like Catherine Zeta-Jones hired me as baby-sitter, and when I was 40 I was already happily married for more than a decade. So all the comments below are made from the chair of the objective viewer :-)

source www.imdb.com

‘The Rebound’ can be found some place between the TV sitcom and the big screen romantic comedy. It is longer and somehow more developed than a sitcom, it is not enough developed and does not bring enough novelty for a feature film. Not for a good one in any case.

(video source czjmda3)

She is 40, looks 30 and dresses sometimes like a 22, and is as beautiful as Catherine Zeta-Jones. Her husband cheated on her, and she moves to Manhattan where – forget bad economic times – finds immediately a job as TV researcher with obvious chances to become sooner or later (but not later than the film duration) an anchor. Of course , professional life dictates her to hire a baby-sitter for her two cued kids, and the hire cannot be other than the 25 looking thirtish and Mel Gibsonish Aram Finklestein (Justin Bartha), who is some kind of sociology genius but loves kids (and their mother) and does not care about working as a baby-sitter refusing corporate jobs – forget bad economic times, did I say? From now on everything goes as expected, and any of the spectators in the cinema can write the script. All is predictable, and the very few sparks like casting 60s pop music idol Art Garfunkel in a supporting role of a Jewish father cannot save a vary routine almost-a-movie, which would not have worked at all without the charisma of the principal actors.

source www.imdb.com

Saying that ‘Greenberg’ is a romantic comedy as it is marketed is mislabeling and misleading. The movie offers to Ben Stiller the opportunity of playing the best role in his career, a redemption in my eyes to all the silly or boring roles I have seen him in previously. His Greenberg is a 40 years walking failure, half-Jewish not caring about his half-Jewishness but behaving like an institutionalized Woody Allen, whose every Californian dream of the young time went wrong. He is out of a psychiatric institution and gets back to the city of his young age, where all the friends in his generation seem to be similary failed dreams-wise, but in at least settled and deprived of Manhattan neurotics. He is meeting Florence (acted by the wonderful Greta Gewig), the 25 years old family assistant (is this another word for a better paid baby sitter?) of his brother, who is supposed to be the down-to-earth counterpart, but eventually proves to be or in danger to be as disoriented as him. The two meet, quarrel, have sex, do not resonate, as they belong to different generations, but they do share is the uneasiness with the world around them. Will the two find support in each other? It’s a question that stays open to the end, and the two experiment with each other and a surrounding world that does not accommodate them and they do not feel comfortable in. The film avoids the beaten path and the easy solutions, sometimes annoys, but, hey, the Greenberg character IS supposed to be annoying, and the principal thing is that we end by caring deeply of these two estranged strangers. No little thing in a genre of movies I am supposed to hate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSY4P1tdgf0

(video source WickedMovieTrailers)

Of the two movies ‘Greenberg’ succeeded much better in my eyes, because it did not rely on the external charisma and physical chemistry of the characters, but rather built a credible pair of characters whose relationship is interesting despite a certain lack of intrigue and repetition. As in real life, what is really important is people you care, even if some of them are not perfect. Beautiful people filmed on spectacular backgrounds are nice to see once or a few times, for the rest of the days real people are preferable.