I suppose this should be classified as a romantic comedy, but it’s so distinct from others I’ve seen that to call it such doesn’t do it justice. Most romantic comedies, films like Sleepless in Seattle or My Best Friend’s Wedding are cute and fun to watch. Pretty people in silly sitautions falling in love and overcoming all obstables to (usually) end up in each others’ arms. Not so with The Break-Up. (Note: I’m not giving away the ending here; I’m merely saying that the expereince was different.)
It would be more accurate to call The Break-Up a drama with romantic elements.
Because to be honest, The Break-Up is a hard movie to watch. People argue with each other, in a real and convincing manner. Bad things are said. Poor judgment is made. And in the end you want these two people to be together yet DON’T want them to be together because they cause each other so much pain. It’s excruciating. Why can’t they simply be nice, tell each other that they love one another, and kiss and make up? Well, becuase this isn’t the 1940’s and Vince Vaughan and Jennifer Aniston aren’t Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn from The African Queen. This is real heady stuff.
The Break-Up, whether it intends to be or not, is about selfishness and the absence of commitment in what has become a socially acceptable relationship (ie. the cohabitating, unmarried couple). Buying a condo together is no replacement for wedding vows. And people who love each other should place the needs and comforts of the spouse above their own. Otherwise, the relationship is doomed to failure.
Vince Vaughan, to my surprise, is a very good actor. The fights with he and Jenifer Aniston were wincingly realistic, with the tension mounting to a palpable fury. It’s even more impressive to learn that some of the dialogue, at least, was improvised.
My biggest complaint is that the Vince Vaughan character at times is so hateful and so cruel that no woman in her right mind, however charming or witty he may be at times, would pursue a relationship with this guy. But what about women who always return to their abusive boyfriends, you say? Well, those women aren’t the independent Jennifer Aniston types.
My biggest praise of the film goes to the excellent, highly hilarious supporting cast. It’s from them that most of the laughs come. Jason Batemen, Jon Favreau, the singing Jon Michael Higgins, and the Hello-I’m-a-Mac Justin Long. Funny, funny, funny. Rent this movie for no other reason than to see these folks shine.