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The Break-Up
DVD disk
11.03.2006 By: Jason Adams
The Break-Up order
Director:
Peyton Reed

Actors:
Vince Vaughn
Jennifer Aniston
Jon Favreau

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Brooke and Gary are your average couple; she wants him to appreciate all the hard work she does for their relationship, he just wants to have twenty minutes each day to sit on the couch, watch ESPN and scratch his balls. After one particularly nasty spat, the pair calls it quits, each assuming the other will come around begging for forgiveness. When neither of them does, the break up becomes an outright war as they’re forced to live in the condo they bought together.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I heard THE BREAK-UP was not the fun and wacky comedy it was being sold as, but I just chalked it up to people expecting a rehash of WEDDING CRASHERS. In this case though, “people” weren’t too far off. Director Peyton Reed doesn't pull any punches in making a more realistic movie about relationships, one that doesn’t shy away from all the drama and hostility that comes with its title. While the situation (and the film itself) is humorous thanks to the natural hilarity of its stars, there's still a sadness in the back of every laugh, due largely in part to the great chemistry Vaughn and Aniston share. After decades of romantic comedies, a lot of their bickering and failures to communicate feels like already covered ground, but in this case it might be cliché only because it’s actually true. If you’ve ever been in their shoes, I doubt you’ll have trouble finding some personal connection on either side.

I don’t want to make THE BREAK-UP sound like a huge downer though, because it’s definitely a solid comedy overall. Vince Vaughn is at his fast talking best; I’m hard pressed to think of someone who could be a lazy, sarcastic a-hole and still be likable. Likewise, Aniston does the cute/ruthless balance well and doesn’t seem to have a problem holding her own against Vaughn. THE BREAK-UP also has an awesome supporting cast, one that doesn’t even include Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller or a Wilson brother. However, you do get Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Vincent D’Onofrio, Justin Long and Peter “A CHRISTMAS STORY” Billingsley—all in small but funny roles—especially Favreau. No pair has better chemistry than Vaughn and Favs and their exchange at the end of the movie is worth the price of admission/rental.

Part of me wants to see a prequel to this movie focusing on the couple’s happier times, just because they do such a good job making you feel the pain of their split (and with talent involved, a prequel would be grade-A hilarious). On its own, however, THE BREAK-UP is still successful—a comedy that’s sometimes serious and oftentimes relevant. I just don’t think “people” were prepared for it.
THE EXTRAS
While the Aniston/Vaughn commentary is disappointing, there’s enough stuff on here to keep you satisfied. (General rule of thumb: Vaughn + Favreau = Solid Gold.)

Commentary by Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston: Surprisingly kind of boring. There’s a big elephant in the room that neither (thankfully) addresses, but it feels like they’re a bit too timid and holding back. Granted, it’s not the most light-hearted movie, but still…it’s Vince Vaughn, you expect a lot more laughs.

Commentary by director Peyton Reed: Normally I would suggest that a director just record his commentary with the actors to save us from unnecessary viewings, but in this case Reed pretty much talks through the entire flick with pertinent info, so it stands well on it’s own. He also jokes about making a sequel where Vince Vaughn’s character moves in with Jon Favreau’s. DO IT!

Alternate Ending (5:09): Not too different. I don’t want to spoil the end (which I like), but this is basically the same conceit, just different location. Available with commentary by Peyton or Vaughn.

Deleted Scenes (8:10): Six short bits. There’s more Vaughn adlibbing, more Ann Margaret and more of the surprisingly funny Cole Hauser, who gives one of the best (worst) pick up lines I’ve ever heard. (Hint: It includes the word “vag-omelet.”)

Extended Scenes (1:57): Three slightly longer takes, each slightly amusing.

Outtakes (11:32): Mostly footage of Vince Vaughn riffing, which is always funny.

Improv with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau (21:11): Best thing on the DVD. Two cameras; one of Vaughn, one on Favs and they just cut ‘em loose. You can see the scene evolve through each take, and credit to editor for cutting this down in to one of the funniest scenes in the movie. (Bonus: You can also listen to it with commentary from both guys. It’s like funny layered on top of funny.)

In Perfect Harmony: The Tone Rangers (6:27): A featurette on John Michael Higgins, who plays Richard the a cappella singing brother in the movie. Higgins is definitely funny and has a lot of energy. (It took three days to film the dinner scene.)

The Making of THE BREAK-UP (15:17): A typical Making Of with interviews and focus on each cast member. It’s nice to see Peter Billingsley finally get some recognition as an actor and producer.

Three Brothers: A Tour of Chicago: The Windy City plays a prominent role in the movie and in the feature you can click around on a map of Chicago and have Vince Vaughn and other cast members tell you about the locations. It also gives addresses and info, in case you want to go to the Skylark Bar and ask Jon Favreau to kill someone for you.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
THE BREAK-UP is a comedic, yet ultimately realistic movie about…you guessed it, breaking up. It’s got a great cast and some great moments, but if you’re looking for a lighthearted romantic comedy to try and escape the real world, this probably isn’t what you want.

Extra Tidbit: John Michael Higgins is an a cappella singer in real life. He also appeared with Jason Bateman in the transcendently genius show Arrested Development.
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