The Break-Up

 
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Written by:Jeremy Garelick, Jay Lavender
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, Joey Lauren Adams, Cole Hauser, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Judy Davis, Justin Long, Ivan Sergei, Ann-Margret
Released: June 8, 2006
Grade: B+

I didn’t want to like this film.  I tire of the continual publicity given to major Hollywood couples.  Every aspect of their lives is detailed on television shows such as Entertainment Tonight and in magazines such as Who Weekly.  I speak of couples such as Tom and Katie, Brad and Angelina and yes, Jennifer and Vince.  Maybe I’ve got tall poppy syndrome but I’m sick of hearing about them and the idea of watching them Jennifer and Vince on screen for 90 minutes did not sound like an attractive proposition.

Dispersions aside, The Break-Up is a fairly entertaining feature.  It opens with Gary (Vaughn) and Brooke (Aniston) meeting for the first time at baseball game.  Gary is trying to convince Brooke to go on a date but she continually resists.  His perseverance finally pays off and during the opening credits, we are presented with a collage of photographs to show how happy they are together.

Things soon change.  It begins with a petty argument over why Gary won’t help Brooke set up for a dinner party.  Gary’s had a long day at work and wants to put his feet up and play video games for a short while.  Brooke wants Gary to have a shower and assist in the preparations before the guests arrive.

Their conflict sends the relationship into a fast moving, downward spiral.  Neither wants to admit the other is wrong and they use blackmail to get the other to admit their guilt.  This is the best and most amusing aspect of the film.  It’s not funny when you’re in the situation yourself but it sure is funny watching from the outside looking in.  You can’t help but laugh at Gary and Brooke’s childishness.

With most sour relationships, you’d go your separate ways.  Unfortunately for Gary and Brooke, they are co-owners of a beautiful apartment in Chicago and neither wants to be the one who moves out.  This only adds fuel to the fire.  Gary tries to annoy Brooke by buying a pool table and putting it in the living room.  Brooke tries to make Gary jealous buy bringing new guys over.  Something has to give.

Vaughn and Aniston are the stars of The Break-Up but the film includes one of the biggest supporting casts of the year.  Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Bateman, Ann-Margaret, Jon Favreau, Cole Hauser, Justin Long and Australian Judy Davis all have small roles.  I’m confused as to why so many additional characters were included in the film.  They casually drift in, utter a few comedic lines and then slip out of the story. 

As the break-up deepens, the film moves from a comedy to a drama.  I much preferred the first half and felt too much time was wasted in the later stages of film.  The final scene is very good however.  I’d heard rumours that it was being changed after a poor test screening but I think it suits the film perfectly.

The Break-Up is not an insightful film.  It’s not telling us anything about men and women that we don’t already know.  Still, it’ll provide enjoyment for many couples who will go along to see it.