Sunday, June 04, 2006

Review: The Break-Up

Well, I was one of the first to see the new movie that Jennifer Aniston hopes will change her reputation at the box office. I couldn't resist--I love Vince Vaughn, and I was curious to see what this movie was going to be like.

I'd heard enough to know that it was supposed to be more like The War of the Roses than When Harry Met Sally... although I found several things about this flick that reminded me of the old Billy Crystal/Meg Ryan movie that remains one of my all-time favorites.

I do think that the trailers put out the impression that the movie is a chick flick, romantic comedy (that's kind of redundant, isn't it?). It's not. Yes, there are funny parts--how can there not be with Vince Vaughn in it--but it's not a heartwarming story.

In fact, it's rather eye-opening, and realistic, in an uncomfortable sort of way. The movie does a very good job of showing how men and women in loving relationships play games, communicate (or miscommunicate, as the case may be), and how they allow their friends to influence said relationship.

There were several things that reminded me of When Harry Met Sally..., one of which is that Vince Vaughn's fast-talking, snarky humor has always reminded me of Billy Crystal, particularly in that movie. And the opening scene is practically taken from the baseball game scene in Harry..., where the two best friends are at the game, having a conversation.

While When Harry Met Sally... used the differences between men and women as a device to allow a relationship to grow, The Break-Up does just the opposite, using that same divide to show how a relationship crashes and burns. The realism in this movie is uncomfortable at times--as we've all been there, on one side or the other.

Vaughn and Aniston are great in their roles; and the supporting cast is also fabulous. Jon Favreau as Vaughn's pal steals the show, along with Judy Davis as the great Marilyn Dean, artiste extraordinaire (her reaction when Brooke tells her she's going to travel is priceless!).

I loved Vince D'Onofrio from Law & Order: Criminal Intent, but barely recognized him at first in this movie. What happened to him? The handsome, quirky man I remember has been replaced with an ageing, fumbling character that may or may not be true to character.

So far, the movie's done well at the box office, but I think Mary Castillo has a point when she notes that next weekend will tell the tale. The movie had a big opening, but if it doesn't deliver what its trailers imply, the following weekends won't hold up at the box office.

I am curious about the fact that the original ending didn't screen well with the test audiences. I didn't like the current ending; it was too open-ended and left all of what we thought we learned about men and women and relationships up in the air. The original ending must have been truer to the movie; the new ending, I think, is intended to throw those of us who wanted it to ultimately be a romantic comedy, a bone. But the bone didn't work for me.

But, at least Aniston has done one thing: successfully opened a movie one week after her ex's partner gave birth to their child. (Although Vince Vaughn had top billing in the movie; likely due to the fact that he produced and conceived of the film.)

But, does this scene remind anyone else of the opening scenes of Mr & Mrs Smith?


Blogger Janice Lynn soliloquized...

LOL on them on the sofa reminding you of the scene from Mr. & Mrs. Smith. I thought the same thing when I saw that pic. :)

Great review, Colleen!

Monday, June 05, 2006 1:38:00 AM  
Blogger Jana DeLeon soliloquized...

Hi Colleen! I saw TBU this weekend also, and I have to say I was both uncomfortable and disappointed. I expected and wanted a romantic comedy.

WARNING - SOMEWHAT SPOILER: Real life sucks bad enough and after the public screwing JA just took in her private life, the last thing I wanted to see was another one on film. Especially on a Sunday when I'm trying to relax and have fun.

This movie did not relax me and i definitely did not have fun. I found it incredibly depressing although probably very accurate.

Monday, June 05, 2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah L. Castleberry soliloquized...

Well - I had this nice long post that Blogger just ate! :)

Hi - visting through Stacy's Sensibly Insane blog!

I just saw the movie last night, and was less than thrilled. I agree, it was too open ended, dragged on too long.

Maybe it was the romance writer/reader in me, but I don't think a "happy" ending would have been too unrealistic for this couple.

They were changing and growing, and each stage of a relationship requires *learning* - better ways to communicate, better ways to show you care - you can't just say "forget it" when it gets hard. Why not stick to your committment and give it another try?

Nice review!! Thanks!!

Monday, June 05, 2006 11:30:00 AM  

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