I don't usually care for romantic comedies, because most of them are neither terribly romantic or terribly funny. I say that in case you think that disqualifies me from reviewing "The Break-up," which I will now do my best to do.
Why did I go see this one? Because I like Jennifer Aniston and I like Vince Vaughn. His schtick does get tiresome occasionally, but he's usually very funny, and he has moments to shine in "The Break-Up." And, like almost everyone, I like to see Jennifer Aniston in movies.
And this one almost worked for me. It starts out promisingly enough, with a flashback to Vince in pure "money" mode trying to pick Jen up at a Cubs game. From there, however, we flash-forward, in an instant, to the night they break up. The backstory, apparently, was the polaroids we see of them together in the opening credits, apparently having fun together.
It's established early that they are complete opposites, but that wasn't the problem for me. Cliches like opposites attract don't become cliches because they aren't true. They definitely can be, but here we're given no one to cheer for because five minutes into it, they're screaming at each other.
Which can, in a dark way, be very funny, but it isn't here. It's often just painful, but not in any real way, because we have no idea why they wanted to be together in the first place. At one point, about two-thirds of the way through, a weeping Jen asks Vince, "how did we get here?" As a viewer, I have to say, I have no idea.
And it's a shame, because, you get the sense that individually, if you found out anything about these two people, you would like them.
The supporting players bring much-needed life to this one, however. Jon Favreau, though he looks like he was auditioning for "Supersize Me," is funny as usual as Vince's sidekick, and when they're on screen together it brings back fond memories of better movies. Judi Davis is wonderfully over the top as Jennifer's artist-diva boss, and Vincent D'Onofrio is a welcome sight as Vince's brother who is trying to hold their family business together during the break-up/meltdown.
I won't tell you how it ends, but you may find it to be a surprise. As I said, they're charming as individuals, and Vaughn is from time to time very funny, especially while he is taunting an 8-year-old online opponent in a game of Madden NFL. I just wish we had some reason to want them to be a couple.
What saddens me is that this isn't nearly good enough to knock Ratboy's "Last Stand" from atop its box-office perch, and that, at least in my little corner of the world, we seem to be getting only one new movie a week this summer. What's up with that?
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Posted by Reel Fanatic at 2:29 PM