The Break-Up

  The Break-Up

The Break-Up is ironic on so many levels. First, it stars Jennifer Aniston, a woman who went through a very public break-up of her own recently with now x-husband Brad Pitt. Second, Aniston and Vince Vaughn's characters in the movie are going through a messy split, however this movie is actually responsible for bringing the two actors together in a real-life romance.
Wow, that's a lot of baggage for one movie to carry. (Reminding anyone else of the post break up Bennifer, Gigli situation?)
But putting aside all the tabloid gossip, The Break-Up is really just about a relationship going down the tubes. It's an anti-romantic comedy, if you will, and it's a solid one at that.
The comedy flows out of the movie's fearless portrayal of the way relationships really are: imperfect, messy, and sometimes downright ugly.

It begins with Gary and Brooke (Vaughn and Aniston), two Chicagoans who are as different as night and day, yet form an instant connection over a hot dog at a Cubs game. We only see snapshots of the happy times until the movie picks up just when it's all falling apart. Gary and Brooke are sharing a glorious condominium, but that is about the only thing they seem to have left in common.
Brooke is a chic, sophisticated art dealer who likes her life to be a certain way. If she asked Gary for 12 lemons, she wants those 12 lemons. She nags her boyfriend about little things, but it is evident that she wholeheartedly wants her relationship to work out. Aniston doesn't have to stretch her acting abilities in this film. She dashes around in snug little black dresses and airy cream-colored attire that expertly complement her ever-present sun-kissed glow. This is a comfortable role for Aniston, but her innate charm makes her instantly likeable. One can only hope that this role turns out to be the box office success she so desperately needs.
Vince Vaughn also isn't digging too deep here. His character babbles, stutters and complains his way through his relationship in a way that has become a Vince Vaughn specialty. A talented bus tour guide who appreciates a cold beer and a fine video game, Gary is your typical clueless boyfriend. He would much rather relax on the couch than wash dishes, and God forbid he would ever attend a ballet with his girlfriend.
Vaughn continues the over-caffeinated frat boy shtick that he has mastered so well in previous movies and combines it with his teddy-bear adorableness. It works for him, and he knows it. The movie's funniest moments come out of Gary's dimwitted rants, one of which has Gary going on about Michelangelo's "Sixteenth Chapel." (Of course, he means Sistine Chapel). Vaughn's rapid fire delivery is not always easy to follow, sometimes it's sheer nonsense, but that is what makes it hilarious.

have their respective confidants whom they go to for advice. And by advice I mean ideas for revenge or retaliation in the on-going mind game that they once called a relationship. See, Gary and Brooke are still living in the condo together and neither one is willing to give it up. So what transpires is a series of ploys to anger, annoy and make the other person jealous.
Misunderstandings, miscommunications and missed signals ensue because neither one is strong enough to reveal their true feelings. What makes these characters more than just comedic stereotypes is their heartfelt portrayals of hurt and regret. You can almost picture Gary and Brooke as an actual couple, struggling to understand one another. When real confessions finally do come out, it may be too late. The final decision Brooke makes regarding the relationship may be a bit surprising but it is realistic just the same. Gary and Brooke are simply the right couple at the wrong time. Each one needs to grow up in his or her own way. The ending is different from anything I've seen in a romantic comedy, and I'm glad The Break-Up veered off the predictable path.
The supporting cast is also worth mentioning.
Jon Favreau, looking like a beefed up wrestler and sporting t-shirts with chuckle-worthy sayings like "I'm a drinker, not a fighter," plays Gary's go-to guy and best friend Johnny. Favreau and Vaughn appear so similar in speech and mannerisms; it's obvious that these two are real-life buddies.
John Michael Higgins is a riot as Brooke's gay, singing brother, Richard. His musical outburst at the dinner table is among the movie's most entertaining scenes. Gary awaking to the faint sound of harmonizing from Richard's a cappella group the Tone Rangers is also a terrific moment. I loved how Gary refused to admit that Richard beat him up, but instead insisted that Richard had "fooled him with trickery" while he was half asleep.
Certain characters seemed a little misplaced, though. The movie puts Joey Lauren Adams in the bland, best gal pal role, making her spew relationship advice like a female Dr. Phil. She's not on-screen for long, thank goodness. And sadly, Jason Bateman is miscast as Gary and Brooke's soft-spoken realtor, who tries to counsel the dysfunctional couple after a particularly heated game of Pictionary.
Gary and Brooke both wish they could have done things differently. But in all honesty, I don't. This is one break-up that's actually enjoyable to watch. And that may be the most ironic part of all.
Movie Grade: B+

Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston star in The Break-Up, which starts where most romantic comedies end: after boy and girl have met, fallen in love, moved in to start their happily-ever-after"¦and right when they wind up driving each other crazy.
Pushed to the breaking-up point after their latest “why can’t you do this one little thing