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Stars: Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans, Chris Messina, Susan Traylor

Director: Noah Baumbach

Despite a sprinkling of chuckles here and there, this may be the first dull film that Stiller has ever made, and illustrates the dangers of comic actors even venturing into the half-serious.

He's Roger Greenberg, a sometime pop composer and recently released mental patient who's dragooned into looking after his brother's house and dog while bro, wife and family are away in Vietnam. Well, someone has to holiday there.

Greenberg strikes up a relationship with the family nanny/PA Florence (Gerwig), to whom he makes love straight away (I thought this guy had hang-ups about women), spending his spare time writing petty complaints to big companies.

That's it really. When someone says 'What is the point of that story?', you have to think it applies to the picture. Greenberg and Co, including his best friend Ivan (Ifans) are poor company, and Stiller's drugs scene at a teen party (don't ask) isn't half as funny as Woody Allen sneezing away a line of heroin in Annie Hall.

Still, Little Fockers and Nignt at the Museum 3), if they happen, could be a blast; we'll all be glad to see Ben back to his manic self. Here, his character practically drowns in neuroses and self-pity. Who would really want a relationship with this man?

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by deluxe.
108 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 2.

Review date: 05 Jun 2010