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Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do... A Movie Review

Movie Poster for Break-UpTAG LINE: "Vince Vaughan and Jennifer Aniston star in the charming and upredictable comedy The Break-Up. After two years together, Gary and Brooke's relationship seems to have taken a comical wrong turn on the way to happily ever after. Now the break-up is on, the lines have been drawn, and their honest feelings for each other are coming out. Get ready for an all-out war of the exes in this fun date movie that's hilarious and heartfelt."—Universal Pictures.

THE BREAK-UP. Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughan — previews on TV and at the movie theatre selling a quirky dark comedy. Theeeeeeee biggest "Bait & Switch" marketing con in cinema lately.

Let me explain.

If I had gone to this movie expecting to see a relationship drama, about a brokendown relationship and a couple trying to work through the pain and miscommunication of a very real situation, I would have said that the movie succeeded. The dialogue was deftly-written, absolutely believable, the characters' isolation and unhappiness in an untenable situation well supported by the acting performances, the direction, the art direction. I would have probably given it a B or so. As a DRAMA.

Renting this movie on a Friday night, expecting a quirky dark comedy, with likeable and familiar comic actors — a movie, the marketing campaign of which suggested something along the lines of the brilliant Addicted to Love (1997), or the morbidly furious War of the Roses (1989) — and instead watching two hours' worth of scarce-a-light-moment, very-real-every-day-garden-variety-
sad-and-wistful break-up movie, one could say... "What the hell happened here?"

The movie, by its very definition in basic Aristotelean terms, is not a comedy; it does not have a happy ending, there is next to no humor, and at least to me, not one moment of enjoyment. It's like a watered-down pale version of Kramer vs. Kramer, without the high stakes, without the cute kid, and without the acting talents of Hoffman and Streep. In every way, reviewing it as a comedy, which the marketing team spun into existence, it deserves a flat F.

Nor does the movie qualify as a proper tragedy — there is no conscious decision made by a protagonist, according to his/her hubris, bringing about his/her own downfall, nor any trace of catharsis for the viewer from sympathizing and releasing one's own negative or sorrowful emotions.

It's not a bad movie, but not a great one either. The only feeling of comedy I got was thinking with horror of those poor young couples who went out on their third or fourth dates, thinking they were going to see a date movie, during/after which they could do some smooching; tee hee! Not bloody likely! I think those poor saps got suckered even worse than I did.

Think Universal would refund me my $4.99 rental fee, if I threatened them with a lawsuit, based on "truth in advertising" and the whole "bait and switch" and "misleading the public" aspects? Hmmm? :P



Blogger Istanbultaye said...

I don't think I'll be watching that movie (not that I was likely to before your review).

November 20, 2006 1:26 PM  
Blogger Anniina said...

LOL :)

November 20, 2006 9:18 PM  

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