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
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
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
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."Â (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,"Â 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"Â 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"Â¦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