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
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.