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June 2006

THE BREAK UPReview

By Wilson Morales

THE BREAK UP Review

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Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Peyton Reed
Screenwriters: Jeremy Garelick, Jay Lavender
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, Joey Lauren Adams, Ann-Margret, Judy Davis, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jon Favreau, Cole Hauser, John Michael Higgins, Justin Long


   

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Whenever you have a celebrity couple together in a movie, automatically the film is destined to fail. There’s too much hype riding on the picture in regards to the couple’s status that the story gets lost from jump. It may have worked for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie last year with “Mr.& Mrs. Smith”, but they were never “officially” together until after the film had played. That said, with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston having declared themselves a couple, their latest film, “The Break Up” has been talked about for weeks, but people forget that this is still a movie, and yet, the film is uneven because the chemistry doesn’t work on screen as much as it works off-screen. The on-screen couple spend so much time arguing and showing their differences, that one wonders how this pair got together in the first place.

In the beginning of the film, we see Garry Grobowski (Vaughn) and his pal (Favreau) at a Chicago baseball game when Gary notices Brooke Meyers (Aniston) at the game with someone else and immediately sets his sights on her. As the opening credits roll, we see images of the Gary and Brooke together at different functions displaying that they are now seeing each other and have moved in together in a fabulous condo. Within a matter of minutes “The Break Up” starts when Gary shows off his selfishness and won’t help Brooke out with simple house chores while she prepares dinner for family coming over. He rather sit back on the couch and watch a game or play video games. While Gary is self-employed with his brothers running a bus tour company, Brooke works as an art gallery manager and wants Gary to change his lifestyle a bit. She seems sophisticated compared to Gary’s slackish looks. When arguing about their differences, Gary accuses Brooke of being a nag so much that that Brooke decides she’s had enough. Since neither wants to leave the condo they share, the film becomes a “War of the Roses”, with the couple trying their best to annoy the other hoping one would concede and change. With each having declared their own space in the apartment, Gary lives in a pig-pen lifestyle while Brooke brings home new dates hoping Gary would see that she has moved on. With battle stations drawn, who will prevail in this bust up relationship?

Vince Vaughn developed this story with his friends and first time screenwriters Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender and to some degree, the film works. The middle portion of the film is what works best with this romantic comedy as the banter between Vaughn and Favreau hits strides of comic relief. The chemistry between these two goes back to the number of films they have made together (Swingers, Made). At the same time, the dialogue between Vaughn and Aniston do show some genuine moments of a couple splitting. Judy Davis is such a scene stealer as the boss that Brooke work for, she brings in the new zest when the film lags. The problem with this lies with the chemistry between the on-screen couple. The differences between Gary and Brooke are so vastly wide that you have to wonder what could have possess Brooke to get together with him in the first place. There’s a lot of the actors’ personalities that get in the way of the film. From Vaughn’s comedic past to Aniston’s recent marriage break up, the story doesn’t have enough air to breathe on its own. Although the title of the film implies what you will see, in the back of your mind, you always want to leave the theater rooting for the couple to get back together. That’s how films are. You can’t leave on a sad note. But when you see the film, you’d wish you had read the review first.