If you have been following Saratoga Springs native Josh Greenbaum‘s film directing career over the past decade and change, you would have long since concluded that Greenbaum would be directing a Hollywood blockbuster at some point. It was all but inevitable. Greenbaum, who graduated from Saratoga Springs High School in 1997, did his undergraduate degree at Cornell University and the University of Oxford, and then went on to study filmmaking at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, has been making positive waves from the get-go.
While still at USC, Greenbaum won an MTV Movie award in 2007, and went on to direct a short for comedy site Funny or Die, which starred everyone from former US President Bill Clinton and Oscar-winner Matt Damon to Ben Stiller and countless other A-listers. After college, Greenbaum began making a name for himself in the world of documentaries, his breakout being 2013’s The Short Game, which followed the world’s best 7-year-old golfers on the hunt to become the age-group champion and potentially the next Tiger Woods. It won the highly coveted Audience Award at SXSW that year. Greenbaum then did a 20-episode run of a Hulu docu-series entitled Behind the Mask, which peeked inside the world of professional sports mascots and led to his first Emmy nomination. He continued building out his repertoire, directing action star Arnold Schwarzenegger in two comedy shorts and Daniel Craig (a.k.a. James Bond) in another involving puppies and an Aston Martin.
If ever there was a turning point in Greenbaum’s career, though, it was 2017. That year, I had the opportunity to interview the film director about his upcoming Hulu documentary, Becoming Bond, which told the life story of actor George Lazenby, the only one-time James Bond, who starred in 1969’s fan-favorite On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. And that same year, Greenbaum also released Too Funny to Fail, a documentary that dug deep into the short-lived ’90s TV sketch comedy (and Dana Carvey vehicle), The Dana Carvey Show, which starred a number of before-they-were-famous comedians such as Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell, before it was unceremoniously canceled after eight episodes.
By 2018, Greenbaum would direct five episodes of the beloved Fox sitcom, New Girl, all along keeping busy and filling out his already poised-for-the-big-time résumé. That big Hollywood moment was supposed to take place this past summer, when Greenbaum’s first wide-release comedy, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, written by and starring Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo—the actresses behind the Oscar-nominated Bridesmaids—was supposed to hit every major movie theater chain across the country. Of course, the pandemic hit in mid-March, and that put Greenbaum’s dream on hold.
Since we’re all now, for the most part, comfortably living in the “new normal”—and the watch-from-home infrastructure is solidly in place—Barb and Star will finally see the light of day. Set for release on Valentine’s Day weekend, beginning on February 12, the movie will be available to rent and stream, as a premium video-on-demand film, on platforms such as AppleTV, Amazon, Comcast, YouTube and DirectTV.
If you haven’t already done so, click on the teaser trailer above to get to know the title characters a little bit better.