Rated PG-13; Directed by Peyton Reed; Starring Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, Jon Favreau, Joey Lauren Adams, Vincent D’Onofrio, Judy Davis, John Michael Higgins
“The Break-Up” is billed as a romantic comedy. Um…I’m not quite sure where the romantic part comes in, unless we’re talking about the opening credits. After that, it’s not romantic comedy; it’s reality comedy. Anyone who has fought over the silliest things and broken up with a loved one, will recognize lots of the moments in this film. In other words, this is not a good movie for date night. It won’t leave you feeling cuddly.
Brooke (Jennifer Aniston) and Gary (Vince Vaughn) are a happy couple living together in a gorgeous condo in Chicago. Brooke manages an art gallery and Gary is a tour guide in his family’s bus tour company. Both are good at what they do, but what they are bad at is communicating effectively with each other. One night, after an awkward dinner party with both families (the scene is stolen by John Michael Higgins as Brooke’s singing brother), the two have an argument that starts over helping with the dishes and ends up with a break-up. The argument hits all the right notes.
Now, when dealing with emotional issues we all talk it over with our friends. Too bad Brooke and Gary have friends that offer such bad advice. The best scenes deal with these friends. “The Break-Up” has a very nice supporting cast including Jon Favreau as Gary’s best friend; Joey Lauren Adams as Brooke’s. There is also Jason Bateman, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Judy Davis.
As a comedy, “The Break-Up” is on the weak side. There are laughs, but not throughout the film. In fact, things get pretty emotional in the second half of the movie. This is where the movie is a surprise. These scenes pack quite a punch and give both Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn a chance to shine. Unfortunately it makes for a movie that wobbles a little too much. A stronger movie would have cut some of the weak-humored scenes in the center of the movie; the scenes that repeatedly show Brooke and Gary being stupid.
Chicago and Jennifer Aniston look lovely in the movie, but the director, Peyton Reed, can’t give the movie the pace it needs. What the screenplay does provide is a move away from the traditional format for a romantic comedy. I liked that.
A mish-mash of comedy, drama, and reality, “The Break-Up” is perfect for those who need a primer on what not to do when breaking up.