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Overrated / Underrated

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OVERRATED

Noah Baumbach’s recent run: As fans of “Kicking and Screaming” (1995) and the Oscar-nominated “The Squid and the Whale” (2005), we’re confused why this writer-director has lately seemed preoccupied with telling charmless stories of unpleasant people doing unpleasant things. Apart from a welcome reunion with Wes Anderson for “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Baumbach’s recent “Margot at the Wedding” (2007) and this year’s “Greenberg” (pictured) both felt like being trapped listening to unrepentant jerks at a party. Did likable characters somehow become a sign of artistic weakness?
(Focus Features)

Snap judgments and considered criticism of pop culture and beyond from the staff of The L.A. Times.


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