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"The Break-Up"

Directed by Peyton Reed ("Bring It On").
Written by Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender.
Starring Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, Joey Lauren Adams and Jon Favreau.

Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  6/15/06


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 "Dodgeball", 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 all shit!

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 " 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 minutes.  Ugh.

Not awful, but it just barely avoided awful.  "The Break-Up" might please some Aniston fans, but Vaughn fans should avoid this altogether.

Rating:  Rental


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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 "Office Space"). 

"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, 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 half stars." 

"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 Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09