Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: "The Break-Up" Puts Starch in the Romantic Comedy

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 241 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Break-Up (2006)
Running time: 107 minutes (1 hour, 47 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sexual content, some nudity, and language
DIRECTOR: Peyton Reed
WRITERS: Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender; from a story by Vince Vaughn and Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender
PRODUCERS: Scott Stuber and Vince Vaughn
EDITOR: David Rosenbloom and Dan Lebental

DRAMA/COMEDY with elements of romance

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Vincent D’Onofrio, Cole Hauser, Joey Lauren Adams, Peter Billingsley, John Michael Higgins, Ann-Margaret, Judy Davis, Justin Long, and Jacqueline Williams

When celebrity couples make a film, it can be a financial disaster (Gigli starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez) or a box office smash (Mr. & Mrs. Smith starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie). Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston are a celebrity couple (although they are coy about it), and their film, The Break-Up, was a box office hit in spite of receiving mostly mediocre and poor reviews. But I liked it a lot.

Once upon a time, Gary Grobowski (Vince Vaughn) and Brooke Meyers (Jennifer Aniston) were deeply in love, but like all couples, the daily grind and same old routine started to drive them crazy. One evening, after a long an exhausting day, Gary and Brooke have an argument and somehow it becomes the break-up. The problem is they live together, and neither wants to give up their plum condo. An all-out war and a test of wills begins with each one turning to his or her friends and family for advice. Gary and Brooke are each determined to be the “last man standing,” but, even as things get nastier, will either one like where this feud is going when there are still strong feelings of love.

Vince Vaughn is charming and charismatic, and no matter how many times he plays a sarcastic slacker, it never gets tired. Jennifer Aniston, gorgeous with a tight body and rocking ass, is quiet good in romantic roles. She seems to excel at playing the girlfriend or object of affection, and she does it well enough to suggest that someone should try her in a dramatic role. The Break-Up is her test drive because it is more drama than it is romance or comedy.

Vaughn and Aniston make The Break-Up both spicy and edgy, and it’s absolute delicious fun to watch this take-no-prisoners disintegration of a once thriving relationship. The comedy is dark, and the script maybe goes too far for some viewers in the way the writers are almost anal about showing as many embarrassing scenes and ugly confrontations between Gary and Brooke. As he did in Down with Love, director Peyton Reed is proving to be adept at making offbeat romances.

There are some nice supporting characters, nicely performed by a clever cast of character actors and actors who make a living playing the friend. As good as Jon Favreau, John Michael Higgins, Judy Davis, and Justin long are, they’re really just filler – the kind of comic relief buddies that are all too common in Hollywood relationship flicks. The real treat is Vaughn and Aniston, and The Break-Up is certainly an example of how good it sometimes can be when celebrity couples work together.

7 of 10

Saturday, November 25, 2006


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