The Break-up

“The Break-up” is a not so romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston as Brooke, an assistant to an artist in the Chicago area; and Vince Vaughn as Gary, a Chicago tour guide who, along with his 2 brothers, want to take Chicago tourism by land, sea, and air.  The couple meets at a baseball game with Vaughn trying to get a date with Aniston by offering her a hot dog while she was with another man.  After a title sequence draped with a collage of photos of the couple, the relationship takes a sour turn after a fight involving how many lemons Vaughn failed to buy and the fact that Vaughn doesn’t want to want to do the dishes. The couple breaks up and takes turns performing immature antics on one another to try and deal with their frustrations.  The bitterness and fighting gets so bad that their friend (and realtor) has to sit them down after a screaming fight breaks out during a game of pictionary.  He then suggests that the couple sell their condo and go their on with their lives.  During the two weeks they have left in the condo, the childish antics only get worse and involve Aniston walking around the condo naked and also attempting to date other men to make Vaughn jealous.  Vaughn holds a naked poker party in the apartment as a retaliation, much to the disappointment of Aniston.  However, things change when they finally leave the condo and are forced to go their seperate ways.  Jennifer Aniston plays this role very well.  She comes off very believable as the fed up girlfriend who just wants her boyfriend to respect and appreciate her and she will do whatever it takes to get that respect.  Vaughn plays the immature man who needs to grow up rather well, but he comes off too immature most of the time and it begins to get tiresome and, during some stretches, annoying.  I have always been a huge fan of Vaughn, but this role is definitely not my favorite of his.  The supporting actors, however, are a joy to watch, sometimes even more than the leads.  Jon Favreau as Vaughns best friend is funny and provides comic relief in between the intense emotional scenes.  I can even go as far to say that Favreau redefines the “wise advice-giving” bartender role with some of the suggestions he makes to solve some of Vaughn’s problems.  Joey Lauren Adams shines as Aniston’s best friend and the more rational of the two, and I was disappointed that there wasn’t more interactions between Adams and Aniston or Favreau and Vaughn.  The script as a whole is not believable as a break-up movie.  I can relate to being in stupid arguments with a girlfriend over trivial things just as the characters in this movie are, but it is laid on so thick that it becomes obnoxious and difficult to sit through.  These are supposed to be adults going through a hard time and it’s more like how high school students would react to the same situation.  In addition, some of the scenes might have worked better had they been cut down, such as the dinner scene where Aniston’s brother is talking about his a cappella group.  And I’m sorry, but personally, I could’ve done without the brother’s terrible off-key singing.  I also feel that the final Favreau/Vaughn scene could’ve been cut out completely.  While it was funny on its own, it did nothing for the story or the film as a whole.  It was what I like to call a “throw-away scene”. For what it is, “The Break-up” is not a bad film, but it isn’t good either.  Vaughn didn’t exactly work for me as a romantic lead in this movie.  Even when he tries to redeem himself, it seems like too little, too late.  Aniston is classic Aniston, and as a personal fan of hers, she is what did it for me in this movie, along with her supporting cast.  Justin Long is hilarious as the homosexual receptionist.  All in all, I’d say this is a definate rental movie to be scene once,  but probably not a second time.  There are some shining moments and some good one-liners from Vaughn which make this movie worth sitting through.    

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