The gossip has had us interested for months. The previews have had us giggling for weeks. And now it’s finally here: one of the most anticipated movies of the year. Jennifer Aniston
and Vince Vaughn are finally showing their cards in “The Breakup,” the film that brought the real life couple together last summer during filming in Chicago.
The movie begins with the meeting of this couple, and unfortunately it’s all down hill from there. Writers never give you an image of the happy couple, save for the montage of photos during the credits. The actual breakup is so abrupt that it seems unreasonable that the two couldn’t just work it out. And when they don’t, it’s hard to care. As far as the audience is concerned, they’ve only just met and barely seem to like each other. We simply sit back and wait for hilarity to ensue.
Be advised: “The Breakup” is not quite the lighthearted comedy that advertisers would have you to believe. Close to eighty percent of the comedic lines in the film are in the previews, leaving audiences to laugh with that “oh, I’ve heard this already” unease. The shock is how serious the tone of the movie can become. Vaughn and Aniston do a good job capturing the hurt and anger that comes from a break up of this magnitude.
Aniston and Vaughn’s performances are just mediocre. They did a fine job, with Aniston’s sharp tongue and Vaughn’s quick wit doing what they are told to do. Yet these actors bring nothing new to the table. It feels as if anyone from Hollywood could have been plunked down in the starring roles and the outcome would have been the same. The real travesty in their performances comes in the ending, when both don’t just act uncomfortable and awkward, but actually seem to be uncomfortable and awkward. It’s like they can’t wait to wrap this film up, and the ending just leaves viewers unsatisfied.
Another flaw in the film is the completely wasted supporting cast. John Favreau seems to be on autopilot alongside Vaughn, given cheap jokes and lame laughs throughout his meager scenes. Aniston’s friends are wholly forgettable, save for Judy Davis and Justin Long, Aniston’s coworkers and outrageous caricatures of real people who stick out like sore thumbs in the film. They seem to have been included simply for comic relief that never quite arrives. Vincent D’Onofrio is also wasted as Vaughn’s high-strung older brother.
“The Breakup” is clearly a movie that suffers because it doesn’t seem to know what it is. The dramatic scenes are shattered by slapstick jokes that fall flat (the whole schtick with the “gay” brother seems ridiculous and out of place), while the comedic scenes suffer from the “so funny you might just cry” difficulty of the fight scenes. Some people in the theater actually did cry, as for anyone who’s ever gone through a difficult breakup will feel the movie hits a little too close to home.
Overall, “The Breakup” doesn’t live up to the hype. The comedy is all a little stale at this point, since we’ve seen the previews over and over, and all the buzz about the relationship between Vaughn and Aniston doesn’t deliver. Overall, it’s definitely a film I’d catch when it hits Blockbuster.