Monday, October 29, 2007

The Break-Up

Like most romantic comedies where boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and then boy... Wait a minute. This one doesn't quite follow the formula.

And kudos to the screenwriters for that. This one's a little different for sure, especially when you consider Vince Vaughn is the "boy." Laugh-a-minute, right? No, not at all. And that's the charm, and, alas, the bane of this movie.

It sure looks like a date movie, though, doesn't it? Vince Vaughn plus the face on every tabloid, Jennifer Aniston. The set-up is a great scene in the beginning of the film where Vince's Gary is trying to meet Jennifer's character, Brooke, by buying everybody in their row in the stands hot dogs. It's very Vaughnish repartee, very quick-thinking, funny, rapid-fire stuff. I'm still not quite sure why she dated him after this, because obviously she thought he was looney tunes, but we cut suddenly to modern times. The two have a pretty nice life, living as a couple in a luxurious Chicago condo. They entertain nightly, it seems, and both enjoy that. So it's a bit of a shock when, after Gary refuses to go out and get more lemons, and then to clean up after one dinner party, Brooke screams, "It's over!"

Brooke is a driven art dealer who is very good at what she does, but who has to tippie-toe around her intense boss at work. She obviously pulls in most of the money in this relationship, as Gary is a tour guide in the Windy City. To be fair, Gary and his brother (played nebbishly by CSI guy Vincent D'Onofrio) have big plans for the tour company, but Gary is a tired man at the end of every day. All he wants to do is sit in front of his bigscreen T.V. and watch the game, or play a video game with his friends. Is that too much to ask? Yes, counters Brooke, as she, too, is exhausted after a day of work, and has to pick up after Gary, plan the night's festivities, carry them out, and then clean up. Most of the movie is after they break up, showing how each reacts to that. They have to stay together during this trying period because they don't want to sell the condo into which each has sunk a fortune. Neither one could handle the mortgage alone.

This is billed as a comedy, but it's not a comedy. It's a little too real to be a comedy. There's a lot of angst here, and each of us has starred in that movie.

The ending is what people are talking about, mostly in a negative way, as it doesn't really resolve the issues brought up in the movie in any way. So, at the end, we're wondering, do they get back together? You can picture audience members saying to their friends as they saunter out of the moviehouse: No, he's too lazy! No, she's too controlling! But knowing that they like both Vince and Jennifer, it's a tough decision for them. And maybe that's the point.

Thumb's down for the disappointing way the story ends, but thumb's up for showing us the not-so-sweet side of the Break-Up.


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