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REVIEW: The Break-Up



By Wayne Francis
Jacksonville, Florida

MY RATING



RATED

PG-13 for sexual content, some nudity and language

CAST
Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, Joey Lauren Adams, Jon Favreau


DIRECTOR
Peyton Reed


RUNNING TIME

106 minutes


RELEASE COMPANY

Universal Pictures


OFFICIAL SITE
www.thebreakupmovie.net

TRAILER
The Break-Up Trailer

SYNOPSIS
Vince Vaughn (America's most overrated comedic actor) and Jennifer Aniston can't rescue this movie from its lame script.

REVIEW
The Break-Up should have spent less time avoiding the label “romantic comedy” and spent more time trying to be just a good movie. The film fails as both a comedy and a drama, and the plot is too dull to sustain itself over a full-length movie.

In the first minutes, we’re introduced to Gary (Vince Vaughn) and Brooke (Jennifer Aniston) at a Cubs baseball game where they first meet and begin a courtship that leads us two years into the future. Here the couple jointly-own a condominium in Chicago; Gary gives tours of the city, Brooke works at a museum. When they invite their parents over for dinner, all signs point to the fact that Gary and Brooke have a serious relationship, but some friction develops between the couple during the meal, and afterwards he sits on the couch while she does the dishes. An argument ensues, and the two go to war.

The plot fails here because beforehand we’re told that the couple thinks highly enough of each another that they’re able purchase a condo and live together for two years, and they also want their parents to meet share in the couple's relationship, and yet one disagreement causes negative emotional tension that, sadly, produces all the dramatic energy of the film. Gary and Brooke appear socially healthy in their lives outside their relationship, and they were perfectly happy enough to stay together for two years, so the fighting that occurs throughout the movie feels unmotivated.

After the two break up, the couple’s problems are intensified by the fact that they must share a condo, and yet, that they co-own a condo in the first place is evidence a believable couple would not fight—at least for two weeks, and so bitterly and immaturely. When Gary puts a pool table into the condo, and when Brooke dates other men to make Gary jealous, and when friends gather at the condo to play pictionary and Gary and Brooke fight like children, the film portrays two people that did not exist in the beginning minutes, and could not have began the kind of relationship that sustained itself enough to result in such vindictive behavior. Both operate in such tremendous inconsistent manner that what we’re left with is confusing character development that renders all possible comedic or dramatic scenes unsatisfying. And couples certainly break-up, and fight like mad, and do spiteful things, but not these characters, and not this time.

This aside, the attempted comedic scenes still do not work even if the couple would have fit the mold of the mean-spirited ex-lovers. The film’s comedic timing is awful, and I wonder if the movie should have concentrated more on the serious drama that occurred in the last minutes when some real feelings were explored; Vaughn and Aniston, in fact, do their best work in the closing scenes. As it stands, though, this film is too inconsistent, too at war with itself too much for me to appreciate the war between the characters.

Vaughn’s a talented actor, but he chooses bad screenplays; among them Dodgeball, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Wedding Crashers. Lately, Aniston is guilty of the same, and I hope in the future she avoids screenplays with this caliber of nonsense. The very talented John Michael Higgins (from Best in Show and A Mighty Wind) makes a few brief appearances; he does his best with the material and generates a few smiles.

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