The Break-Up (2006)

"Weak"

The Break-Up (2006) Review


In most romantic comedies, some find themselves pining for the two leads to finally put their differences aside and reunite, slow dancing while an overused R&B tune plays in the background and the comic relief best friend tells a last joke. It's a genre that's been done to death, of course, but perfectly enjoyable when all the elements are in alignment. When the elements aren't there, however, the result is fairly ugly. The Break-Up -- a solid argument against real-life couples being allowed to play opposite each other in purportedly romantic films -- spends about five minutes setting up Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston as a couple and then proceeds to fill the rest of its running time with all the reasons why they really should break up; and well before it's over you'll be wishing they'd just call it quits.

Accomplishing the quite difficult task of neutering the normally volcanic presence that is Vaughn and further dampening Aniston's already meek comedic abilities, The Break-Up takes some quite considerable assets and squanders them completely. Vaughn and Aniston play Gary and Brooke, a couple who meet-cute at a Cubs game, are shacked up together in a nice downtown condo before the end of the credits, and are relentlessly bickering and splitting up just a few minutes later. Vaughn plays Gary as a more muted and oafish version of his standard motormouth self -- not a pleasant creation -- which leads one to believe that the film will eventually allow him to use his charm to win back the uptight and angry but still in-love Brooke. The critic's oath precludes this writer from giving away the admittedly surprising (though not necessarily in a good way) ending, but what can be said is that little in this film goes as expected.

The jury-rigged patchwork of scenes starts off poorly with a tense family dinner party whose primary purpose is to allow John Michael Higgins, a Christopher Guest regular, time for a funny but utterly beside the point musical number, and just goes downhill from there. Scenes that start interestingly -- such as a potentially hilarious one in a nightclub with Gary's creepy idiot brother (a surprisingly funny Cole Hauser) -- have a tendency to trail off without resolution or explanation. The whole thing is done without much style, surprising given that director Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Down with Love) has in his checkered past shown at the very least an ability to bring an energy and verve to his movies that is entirely lacking here.

With the exception of a couple of scenes with Vaughn and Jon Favreau (as a slightly psychotic bartender/best friend), there's little enough real humor to call this woeful little orphan a comedy, and only the faintest glimmerings of romance. In fact, what comes seeping through all the film's disjointed seams is a melancholic mood, egged on by Jon Brion's haunting score, seemingly composed for another film entirely. Completely out of their element are Vincent D'Onofrio, who seems to think that bundling up a pile of neuroses and tics can make a performance, and Judy Davis, giving a far better and nuanced performance than called for in her too-small role as Brooke's diva of a boss. She must have thought she was performing in a real film, poor thing.

I'm having Lucky Charms, how about you?



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Scott Stuber, , Stuart Besser

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.