...And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

Monday, June 05, 2006

At the Movies: The Break-Up

Written by Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender, based on a story by Vince Vaughn, Garelick, and Lavender
Directed by Peyon Reed

This is what I imagined happened with The Break-Up (and it probably didn't, but this is how the movie seemed to me): Someone wrote it as a biting drama with Oscar potential, until the studio got ahold of it, and went, "How about...not?" So, they got a couple of people to half-heartedly rewrite it as a romantic comedy, and then went ahead to cast funny people and a director known for his slick Hollywood comedies. The result is a sort of Swingers: 10 Years Later (Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau's characters are virtually the same but with a decade's worth of extra baggage, both physical and emotional) only wihout the wit and with a number of uncomfortable and unpleasant scenes ripe with dramatic tension where we feel as if we should be crying...but stars Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston are determined to make everything into a big sarcastic punchline. Uh-uh. Doesn't work. The cast is full of people I love (Vaughn, Aniston, Favreau, Jason Bateman, Vincent D'Onofrio, Joey Lauren Adams), but they drown amongst Reed's suffocating romcom direction. We also only get to see the characters being jerks when they meet and being jerks when they break up; we never actually see them happy together, so we really don't even care what happens to their relationship. There are a few amusing spots--and a perfect ending--but too much of The Break-Up aims for the funny bone when it should have the balls to aim for the gut. C-


Blogger Will Penley said...

Damn. I'm seeing it this week.

8:01 PM  

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