I guess I figured that since thousands of
people saw the new romantic comedy "The Break-Up" in its opening two
weeks and the film features the star pairing of Jennifer Aniston and
Vince Vaughn, it would at least be decent.
As I slogged my way through the experience
that was watching Vaughn--as Chicago city tour guide Gary Dombrowski--fight
with Aniston--as art gallery attendent Brooke Meyers--I was hoping
for a mix of realistic portrayal of a romantic breakdown coupled
with some funny lines. But, the hope is never fully realized,
or partially realized, or even kinda realized throughout the running
time, because the film is incredibly devoid of feeling.
Like, let's take any of the supporting
characters. The script by Jay Lavender and Jeremy Garelick
(from what I can tell, no real credits to their record previously)
really sucks when it comes to our margin characters; be it Gary's
one-note sexually-perverted brother Lupus (Cole Hauser), or the art
gallery's painfully-inept admin assistant (Justin Long from
"Jeepers Creepers" and
normally reliable), or Brooke's insensitive best friend (Joey Lauren
Adams) or Gary's best friend (Jon Favreau, getting fatter by the
film), none of the supporting characters registers at all.
None of them! The best of them is probably the
strangely-inspired performance by the best actor nobody can place,
Vincent D'Onofrio, who is once again offbeat and funny as Gary's
oldest brother Dennis. Otherwise, these characters are almost
The banter with Vaughn's Gary and anyone he
is talking to is mostly blah; the comic timing in this movie just
felt very off. Even when the vintage Vaughn delivery is intact
(none better than maybe when he is spouting off to Brooke about how
much he hates her possibly-gay brother), the delivery seems off; the
pauses for audience laughter seem too long, or mistimed, or
something...I could never really place it. In doing some
research tonight on IMDB, the editors credited on "The Break-Up"
have mostly handled thrillers and dramas; one of the two, David
Rosenbloom, has never worked on a comedy or a romantic comedy.
Maybe this doesn't make much of a difference, but to me it
would--someone cutting the film should be knowledgeable of what
makes other good films from this genre work, and no one like that
seems to have been employed on this picture.
And, maybe their romance in real life is
great, but the single biggest flaw about "The Break-Up" was that I
never really bought that Aniston and Vaughn could ever really work.
I kept thinking, "Yeah, why the fuck ARE you hangin' out with this
schmoe???" or "Yeah...you two really don't work together!" It
just never felt comfortable, mainly because the film never makes
them an item. We get their falling out as the initial
honeymoon period, and from there, I never really believed that their
romance over XX months was that solid. I don't know, I kinda
think that would have made the film better, but it also would have
made it longer, and I was checking my watch a LOT in the last 20
Not awful, but it just barely avoided awful.
"The Break-Up" might please some Aniston fans, but Vaughn fans
should avoid this altogether.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard