The Break Up (12a)
Dir. Peyton Reed
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
It’s an old story… Boy meets girl, she’s with loser boyfriend. Boy wins her over and they live happily ever after (well, for a couple of years at least). But she starts to complain that he doesn’t help out enough around the house and that he takes her for granted. He secretly pines for a pool table in his lounge, time to play Grand Theft Auto on his PS2 and would rather watch sports highlights on TV rather than take her to the ballet. One day they hit an argument where all the underlying tensions are brought to the surface and she snaps and breaks up with him - then the fun begins.
Or so I thought after seeing the trailer for The Break Up which sold it as a fun romantic comedy and also showed off most of the funny lines. In fact I thought ‘Hey I’ll take my gorgeous wife to see this as an amusing early 12th Wedding Anniversary treat’. Alas The Break Up turned out to be much more of a relationship drama than any sort of feel good comedy, and was actually uncomfortable viewing for someone who doesn’t like witnessing couples arguing and not giving each a chance. Yes, I now know that the clue was in the title all along but like any painful break up, this movie can leave you feeling hollow, empty and wistful for the good bits. Hhhmmm, looks like I may still have got some work to do on the Wedding Anniversary treat front…
Anyway there are some good bits – in fact whenever tour bus guide Gary (the excellent Vince Vaughn) flexes his comic muscles the film comes alive, especially when playing off his comic buddy Johnny O played by Jon Favreau. There are also lots of not so good bits and they can mostly be summed up in two words: Jennifer, Aniston.
Director Peyton ‘Down With Love’ Reed really struggles to mix the funny comedy elements with the bitter fall outs and ends up satisfying nobody. If a romantic comedy or a film to reaffirm you relationship is what you’re after, this shouldn’t be on your ‘to see’ list. However, if you’re in the market for an awkward experience that constantly changes tone and leaves you feeling despondent, then The Break Up will be exactly what you’re looking for!
Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):
Action öö – couple of slapstick moments
Laughs öööö – the few that are hear are good ones!
Horror öööö – depends on how you feel about Jennifer Aniston
Babes ööö – as above
Overall öö1/2 (some fun to be had but it's almost not worth it)