So after all the hype of The Big Break Up, Brangelina and speculation about Jennifer Aniston (TV’s Friends) and Vince Vaughn’s (Wedding Crashers) off-screen romance, here is the movie with the ironic title that coincided, rather skilfully from a PR perspective, with the hoo-ha around Jen’s love life. With such a build up one would only expect this to be another ho-hum romantic comedy where Aniston is Rachel Green all over again capped off with some mildly amusing jokes from Vaughn. It’s not.
Brooke (Aniston) and Gary (Vaughn) are a couple with communication issues. After an argument over something seemingly trivial to Gary, Brooke breaks up with her unappreciative boyfriend in an effort to make him realize how much he fails to appreciate her. With both parties hurt and too proud to back down from their stalemate, so begins a cycle of tactics to infuriate, humiliate and provoke jealousy that threatens to spiral out of control.
Vaughn really is a funny guy; in his several monologues his banter had us laughing out loud. Aniston adds some depth to her character and the pair are supported by a tight cast of eccentrics including among others the wry Jason Bateman (TV’s Arrested Development), the outrageous Judy Davis (Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows) with comical appearances from Cole Hauser (The Cave) as the horny bachelor and Justin Long (Herbie Fully Loaded) as the drama queen. There’s one particularly memorable scene where, in a manner reminiscent of 1997’s My Best Friend’s Wedding, the characters launch into an entertainingly out-of-tune song around the dinner table. But, unlike its predecessor, The Break-Up defies expectation as there are some sadder, darker moments to keep the audience guessing right up until the end.
Instead of being a tedious rehashing of the same old gags and romantic clichés, The Break-Up is a humorous chick flick made even droller by Vaughn’s charisma. It’s not the most original romantic flick out there, but it will certainly give you a few laughs and maybe even a few tears, which is really all one can ask for.