The Break-Up scores high marks right from the start with the introduction of its two main stars, Gary (Vince Vaughn) and Brooke (Jennifer Aniston). The setting is playful and flirtatious and the trap is set for the audience to fall in love with the main characters as they, likewise, fall in love with each other. They meet at a Chicago Cubs game and Gary is very charming in his natural, Vince Vaughn-ish way… they move in together, we are shown pictures of their “high times” and the scene is set,… all this…in the opening credits.
One should suspend disbelief a little, perhaps, in that it is not likely that Brooke (who plays an art gallery curator) would go for the middle-class schmoe, Gary… but hey, it’s Rachel from Friends and that hilarious guy from Wedding Crashers! We’ll take a chance.
When the movie came out, I read the reviews and I remember a “you’ll love or hate it”-attitude, and surprisingly, many of the ratings were low. Many had a problem the label of “Romantic Comedy” when it lacked those laugh-out-loud-moments. But here’s my take on this; either a movie is situationally funny (ex. Meet the Fockers), stupidly funny (ex. Dumb and Dumber), repulsively funny (ex. Bruno), cleverly funny (ex. Juno) and most have a mixture. As we learn from Jerry Seinfeld standup, Life, and our collectively-related experiences of it can be very funny. The Break-Up, although not the best of “date movies,” does have a tremendous realism that starts the moment you press play.
Case and point… your wife or girlfriend (I call them by these titles because you wouldn’t likely do this for any “woman”) asks you to help with the dishes after a very long day. All you want to do is take a moment to “put your feet up” and maybe play a game of Xbox. Well, she insists that you help her now. She’s already made up her mind that if you were any kind of man, you’d help her. She’s mad. You, not wanting her to spend the night angry finally says, “Alright, I’ll do it.” But, alas, she is still upset… even more than before because, number 1, you let it carry on for too long, and number 2, she feels that you should want to do the dishes. And to use Gary’s own words, “Who wants to do the dishes.”
I don’t know if it’s just me, but once the squabbling began, I quickly felt myself picking sides. My girlfriend will vouch for me (at least I think she will) that the realm of the female heart is not completely hidden from me… many issues I can see, but situationally, this movie is a gem for showing both sides and allowing you to see a part of yourself in the character(s). Being able to identify with the situation and/or characters has much to do with the humor. I can see, however, that from a woman’s perspective, this movie might make one a bit nervy and concerned, but on the other hand it may just teach them a little more about their partners. Ladies, guys don’t care about a center-piece, and if they did, decorating it with lemons would be furtherest from their minds.
The Break-Up gets an easy 7 stars for the following: its charming comedy-through-realism; the convincing, emotional acting; and for the use of the game Pictionary being the medium for disaster. Director Peyton Reed could have done more with this film, but I feel the greatest crime was not utilizing all the talent (i.e. Justin Long, Ann-Margret, Jason Bateman).
I look forward to reading your thoughts, comments and/or questions regarding this film. Leave you comment below and for film critique suggestions, hit me up on Facebook.