The Heartbreak Kid


Directed by: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
Written by:Scot Armstrong, Leslie Dixon, Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Kevin Barnett
Starring: Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan, Jerry Stiller, Malin Akerman, Carlos Mencia, Rob Corddry
Released: November 22, 2007
Grade: C+

Eddie Cantrow (Ben Stiller) is a 40-year-old guy who has never been married.  He’s not phased by that fact and likes his job working as the manager of a sporting goods store.  His dad (Jerry Stiller) and best friend (Corddry) see things differently however.  They keep telling Eddie that he’s missing out on so much by not having a wife.

In a strange sequence of events, Eddie meets Lila (Akerman), a young woman who works as an environmental researcher.  The two hit it off right away and start spending a lot of time together.  Things couldn’t be better… until Lila gets some bad news – they want her to relocate to Holland for work.  The only way of preventing the move is for her to get married.  So, after 6 weeks together, Eddie and Lila take the plunge and head to Mexico for their honeymoon.

It turns out that Lila is the “bride from hell”.  She has a series of annoying habits and was not entirely honest about her past and her work.  Eddie quickly realises that he shouldn’t have gotten married so soon.  To further complicate matters, he meets a girl named Miranda (Monaghan) who is also staying at the beach-side resort.  They have much in common and enjoy each other’s sense of humour.  Eddie suddenly feels guilty.  This is not because he’s ignoring his sunburnt wife in the hotel room but because he isn’t being honest with Miranda and telling him that he’s married and on his honeymoon.

This could have been funny but the screenplay is not well written.  I expected much better from Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the guys responsible for such comedic classics as There’s Something About Mary and Shallow HalThe Heatbreak Kid is actually a remake of a 1972 Neil Simon film of the same title which stared Charles Grodin and Cybill Shepherd.

My big problem with this film was that I didn’t understand the Lila character.  As I’ve alluded to earlier, she reveals a few things about herself that Eddie would have preferred to know before they were married.  Did she do this deliberately?  This is what’s never made clear.  How then, can I see her as the villain?  Why should I be cheering for Eddie to hook up with the new girl when I’m thinking that Lila is an innocent pawn?  Isn’t it just as much Eddie’s fault for rushing into this relationship?

My issues with the farcical storyline prevented me from enjoying the film’s attempted humour.  Some of the key jokes aren’t too bad.  They’re crude but I liked that – they caught me off guard.  A scene near the end of the film involving a jellyfish sting was the standout.  It will undoubtedly get an audience reaction in every cinema in which this movie is shown.

The jokes and style are similar to that of There’s Something About Mary but in the end, The Heartbreak Kid is a vastly inferior film.