Well the reviewer and I have 2 things in common: utter boredom with Jennifer (Ewww) Aniston and ‘Friends’ and a healthy skepticism of Vince Vaughn’s comic abilities (Vaughn has them: witness ‘Thumbsucker’, he’s just not always using them to his best advantage — I found ‘Made’ unwatchable)
Personally I’m glad to see that Peter Billingsley’s got a part in this too.
I am still suspicious of this movie though…
There are a million things that I’m forced to do since I’m in a relationship. And most of them have to do with Jennifer Aniston. I have to fall asleep to Friends reruns that I’ve seen over and over again, while secretly praying that my TiVo is recording The Daily Show. I’ve got to watch my girlfriend read US Weekly as she laments Jen’s break-up with Brad, all the while calling Angelina a whore. And, worst of all, over the holidays I had to sit through Rumor Has It. Tonight, I sucked-up my pride and went with her to see the Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston movie, The Break-Up.
So, here’s the deal. It was good. It was funny. And it was one of the better “date movies” to come down around the bend in a long time… because the guy wasn’t a total asshole… and the girl wasn’t an innocent victim. I attribute this to one thing: it was written by guys. That may sound sexist… but hear me out.
Here’s the story:
Vince & Jen have been dating for 2 years. Troubles boil up and they decide to break-up (shocker). But they share a condo and mayhem ensues… Jen plays games. Vince is competitive. So, while they both would like to get each other back, they can’t help but to push each other away.
Maybe since Vince Vaughn is a producer on this, his rambling, ADD-riddled banter seems to be fresh again. There were moments in Wedding Crashers where I thought “enough with the ‘T’ character from Swingers.” In trying to figure out why exactly it felt less-trite, I realized that it’s because the other characters were just as amused by his bullshit as I was. Jen laughed at him and gave him shit when he went too far. She was (and my gf is so proud of me for saying this) really good with him. The chemistry is there, but the comic timing was much better than I would have expected (given the last Aniston-travesty I had to sit through).
Usually, with these types of date obligations, I am wincing 90% of a movie, while finding 10% redeemable (even Rumor Has It was partially redeemed by Shirley Maclaine). Here, though, that balance was thrown off by the script’s pride in the importance of guy bonding and the insanity of some women. In one scene, she says it would have been nice if he brought her flowers. He responds that she told him that she didn’t like flowers… that they are a waste of money. She says… well, he should have known that she didn’t mean it. He gives her one look like she’s insane… prompting laughter from the theater and one guy yelling, “That’s what I’M talking about!” Finally, the guys are getting to play along in the date movie game. In that way, it’s a little more like When Harry Met Sally (unlike A Lot Like Love – the Ashton Kutcher piece-of-shit which I also had to see – which bragged about it’s tie to the Crystal/Ryan comedy). Everyone has their quirks – and the movie’s not afraid to show it.
Another reason why the movie worked is the supporting cast, Favs [Favreau] is here (boy, he is getting faaaat) and plays more of a tough guy role. Cole Hauser, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jason Bateman, Peter Billingsley and Justin Long also make the most out of small parts. And the guy from A Mighty Wind/Best In Show got the biggest laugh as he led his acapella band, The Tone Rangers.
But (like most relationships) the movie’s intentions aren’t always clear. There were some scenes that you just wanted to speed along to get to the point. There was some stuff about Vince’s business (he’s a Chicago tour guide) and even some of the arguing that felt redundant and not even remotely necessary. Once the movie kind of earned my trust, I wanted to feel like there was a reason for these scenes. Eventually, the reasons were revealed. But the waiting made the whole thing feel just a bit too long.
So, to sum up… the PROS:
– The writing (fair to guys & girls)
– The chemistry between the leads
– The supporting cast
– Jennifer Aniston’s ass
– Little moments like: a sort-of inside joke where Peter Billingsley’s daughter (in the film) put a bar of soap in her mouth.
– The fact that it was closer to Made than Maid in Manhattan
– The pacing
– The length
– Some of the fighting scenes wore out their welcome.
So, before I fall asleep to the wacky antics of Friends, I’ll just say that this is an a-okay movie. And, if you get roped into a date movie, this is the one to see. And it’s a pretty worthwhile addition to the Vaughn/Favreau catalog.