The Break-Up (2006)
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Review Date: June 01, 2006
Director: Peyton Reed
Writer: Jeremy Garelick, Jay Lavender
Producers: Vince Vaughn, Scott Stuber
Vince Vaughn as Gary
Jennifer Aniston as Brooke
Jon Favreau as Johnny
After some years together, a girl breaks up with her live-in boyfriend after the sudden realization that the man isn’t very considerate of her feelings (those dishes will do you in every time!). Until they can sell their apartment though, the duo continue to live together, and play your typical “relationship head games” until more feelings get hurt and they have to stop the shit-kicking and face up to their dilemma. What ensues is a different kind of romantic comedy.
Leave it up to Vince Vaughn, the man who along with Owen Wilson, kicked romantic comedies in the ass last summer with the raunchy (yet heartfelt?) WEDDING CRASHERS, to come out with yet another winning flick, with comedy up the ying-yang, romantic moments up the yang-ying and even a little bit of the emotional stuff for the ladies. I truly dug this movie from beginning to end, with everything from the film’s “break-up” scene screaming authentic at every turn, as anyone who has had their share of troubles in a relationship, or broken up with a loved one, will surely relate to several bits of fun/pain in this film. As some of you may already know, I went through a pretty sad-puppy break-up a few years ago, and I could see a lot of what my ex- went through in this picture. Basically, women think a lot and don’t necessarily emote their feelings into words at all times, and men don’t think all that much (about their relationship) and generally don’t pick up on the “inner feelings” of their better halves. That’s basically the crux of what ultimately causes much of the problems in many a relationship and this film just lays it all out so perfectly with the couple eventually left to live together despite their break-up, with more typical “relationship moments” to follow, as one of them tries to outdo the other in a variety of ways, many of which are quite funny.

Unlike something like WAR OF THE ROSES though, this film doesn’t take the over-the-top route and keeps things mostly real, with best friends offering advice, work friends sometimes making matters worse and the addition of “new blood” into the equation, always leading to more misunderstandings and ultimately, more hurt feelings. It’s like Rodney King said a few years ago, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Well, word on the street is that “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus” (sigh, did I just say that??), so there’s no real way to make it all work ideally all the time, but for the sake of a romantic comedy like this one, it works just fine, with the funny moments being funny and the more emotional stuff working as well. The chemistry between the somewhat high maintenance Jennifer Aniston and the down-home Vaughn is also believable, and the many secondary characters always add more punch to films of this sort, and this one is no different with Jon Favreau kicking mucho ass as the one-track-minded best buddy (one sequence between he and Vaughn discussing what he is suggesting they do with a new boyfriend of Aniston’s is one of the funniest scenes in any movie this year), Judy Davis having a blast as an art gallery owner and Justin Long taking a chance as a flamboyant gay secretary…and making it work!

Cool actor Cole Hauser and Jason Bateman also come through, as the latter actually tones down his usual shtick, but still comes off funny. The film’s ending will surely not win all audiences over, and on an ironic twist, the way this film ends is exactly what my ex- hated about these kinds of movies, but I too didn’t fully appreciate it, which is rare, as I generally like the more ambiguous finales. On a commercial level, the ending isn’t ideal, but the more I thought about it, as a dude who likes “reality” in his films, the more I thought that it actually made perfect sense. I really liked everything about this movie, especially all the stuff about the woman doing things for the guys who rarely notice, and the stuff featuring Vaughn’s character playing videogames all the time, and watching sports highlights. It all matches reality, and despite the fact that I am still not a fan of Aniston (will she ever play a character that is something different from what she plays in every movie?), the film still clicked for me because it was set around a realistic situation to which many people can relate and was peppered with laughs and even some genuine emotion. See it with your better half and break up with them at the end of the movie, just to point out the irony.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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