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Get Serious: Comic Actors in Dramatic Roles
Posted September 27, 2010 to photo album "Get Serious: Comic Actors in Dramatic Roles"
Slide 4: Ben Stiller in Greenberg
Ben Stiller has a genius for creating characters we’re not really sure we like––but we find too funny to actually hate. Consider his turn as a corporate tool in Reality Bites, as the stalking would-be loser in There’s Something About Mary, as the foppish fashion model in Zoolander, or as the dastardly dodgeball player in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Each character is so amusingly ridiculous that we don’t care how bad they are. (You can review a few of his characters in our “Ben Stiller: From Slapstick to Satire” slideshow.) In Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, however, Stiller plays a character that is hard to like, and too complex to not take seriously. In his rave review, the New York Times A.O. Scott highlights the fact that “Stiller, suppressing his well-honed sketch comedian’s urge to wink at the audience, turns Roger into a walking challenge to the Hollywood axiom that a movie’s protagonist must be likable.” The dramatic integrity he brought to the role also gained him the admiration of Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune, who wrote that his “performance [is] as clean and strong as the one Jim Carrey gave in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”