In a 9.18 N.Y. Times piece about standout character performances, Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott have praised Judy Greer‘s third-act turn in The Descendants. “Best known for kooky-friend roles in romantic comedies, Greer makes a strong, poignant impression in three scenes opposite George Clooney. [She’s] playing a fairly tangential character: the wife of the man Mr. Clooney’s wife had an affair with. But whether clueless, bewildered or tearful, Greer shifts the film’s center of gravity and alters its emotional chemistry.

Judy Greer in The Descendants

“A star imports outsized individuality into every role, playing variations on a person we believe we know. A character actor, by contrast, transforms a well-known type into an individual.” And in The Descendants, “Ms. Greer reminds Mr. Clooney’s character and the audience mesmerized by his star power that it is not all about him.”