Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Vince Vaughn, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Bateman, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Favreau, Cole Hauser, Judy Davis, John Michael Higgins, Ann-Margret, Peter Billingsley
Director: Peyton Reed
Screenwriter: Jeremy Garelick
“The Break Up” was ironically Jennifer Aniston’s first big screen movie after her real life break up co-starring Brad Pitt. Did she choose this script so that she could bank on the Brangelina scandal while the story was on its highest media frenzy? I have no idea, but if she did this deliberately, then she is a genius. Because there is no way that this movie would have scored half of what it has without the surrounding rumors and constant coverage of her divorce; it had free publicity in every tabloid, every magazine, on every corner of this planet.
Well, I’ve watched this movie on HBO on Friday. Of course I did not pay to see it: I knew it would not be anything good. I mean, it featured Vince Vaughn as Jennifer’s love interest. Not only is the actor unbearable and untalented, the script made his character a jack-ass and also, in the looks department, she was very much out of his league. Aniston plays Brooke, an art gallery manager, who lives with her boyfriend Gary (Vaughn), a self absorbed ass a Chicago guide who is very good at his job. So good, that nobody fires him when he crosses boundaries and acts like the She seems to feel that he is taking her for granted, and he feels that she is nagging him too much, so they decide to break up, but their high mortgage leaves them no choice but to continue living together. I did not see the perpetual nagging, maybe because I too tend to be a little on the OCD side, but I definitely saw the taking for granted part she complained about. His behavior was unacceptable and even if, in the end, he started to muster some apologetic words, it was too little too late as far as I was concerned. You will have to see for yourselves if it worked on her.
“The Break Up” is not an entirely awful movie. There are some parts that feel real, it is obvious they had studied the issue first (maybe they asked Jennifer for some lines they could use), and some of the real life difficulties that appear when you break up with somebody you have lived with for two years are handled, instead of going for the easy “we can move wherever whenever, we can afford any place, we have shitty jobs and still afford way more than the average middle class American” way. They struggle with the real estate market (as shallow as it is presented, it is still better than what the typical romantic comedy offers), they try to hurt each other and they start awkward conversations in front of their friends. Even if you haven’t lived any of this, you still witnessed it first hand at a friend’s house. Because human nature makes us all petty and gratuitously mean when we start to realize we have lost 2-3-4 years of our lives or more next to somebody that is throwing it way too easily. In retrospective, the script was average, the acting likewise, but only if you make a combination of Aniston’s above average performance with Vaughn’s underwhelming one. If there were any secondary characters, please excuse me, I was too bored to notice, it was like watching a flat line EKG whenever the main actors disappeared, because I could not focus on Jennifer’s good looks or on the annoyance brought on by Mr. The-Last-Long-Lost-Wilson-Brother anymore.
But the fact that it is advertised as a comedy makes one wait for the funny part. For a joke, at least? For something that lifts the corners of one’s mouth more than a tenth of an inch, maybe? Well, I cannot say that there is anything remotely funny about this story. I did cringe a few times when I saw how she was still waiting for an actual sign of devotion or appreciation, and how he failed her every time. EVERY SINGLE TIME! During one of the most heart breaking scenes, she waits for him at a concert and I actually screamed at the TV: “Stop being a fucking doormat and move the fuck on, you fucking stupid woman!!!!” Not to mention that, towards the end, I kept hoping that somebody would finally explain to me (maybe using a pie chart? or drawings?) the charm of the tall always drunk looking Vince and his heartless deliveries. Please tell me if you saw it and if it’s just me being excessively critical because I’m Aniston biased.
Overall, a bland movie that struggles to be a drama and fails and is presented as a comedy in spite of the painful unfunny lines, all topped by unconvincing performances and minimal direction. 3 1/2 potatoes for two hours of my life I am never getting back. The extra half potato is due to the fact that I am very glad I did not buy tickets.