Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with an update on the big rom-com this summer, Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston's flick THE BREAK UP. We have a spy who was at a test screening and wrote in with his/her thoughts. The review is pretty positive, but as you should expect from a test screening (remember my rant on comedies needing the most fine-tuning?) there are moments that didn't quite work. If it's at this stage in the testing process, it is already ahead of the game. Enjoy the mostly spoiler-free review!
Just got back from a test screening of The Break Up, this summer's Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston romcom. Actually, dramedy may be a better overused fake word to use to describe this movie, but more on that later.
The leads meet in the opening scene, and then the opening credits, a montage of photos, shows the various stages of their relationship. Then they hold a dinner party (which goes on far too long), and all hell breaks loose after the guests leave and it's time to do the dishes. Hes lazy. Shes demanding. He doesnt take her to the Ballet. She.. well, its mostly his faults. They break up.
But alas, they own their apartment, so they continue to live together. We quickly learn Aniston doesn't want to break up, just for him to appreciate her. Vaughn is stubborn to do so, and instead turns his half of the apartment into a bachelor pad. Then we get all the stuff we learned from the trailer, with a constant series of each of them trying to one up the other.
I dont want to spoil the ending (though i guess just saying that sort of does for a movie like this), but suffice to say, while the movie is very funny (Vaughn delivers what may be the single greatest line in romantic comedy history - it's his response to her defending her apparently slutty sister, and singlehandedly makes the movie worth watching), there are long laugh-free stretches of the realistic and fairly heartbreaking scenes of them breaking up, or realizing that it may be over. The scenes are well written, and never slow the movie down, but it's just not what I was expecting. I know that to make the movie work you need to have heart, but they sort of went above what was necessary for what is being marketed as a comedy. For example, late in the film, Aniston tries to reconcile by inviting Vince to a concert. They agree to meet there. She leaves his ticket at will-call, buys him a beer... and he doesn't show. She just sits there alone with two beers. I mean, that's just borderline depressing.
The supporting cast does OK. Jon Favreau is pretty good (and amazingly fat) as Vaughn's slightly psychotic best friend. Jason Bateman only has 3 scenes but he gets at least one laugh in each one. Cole Hauser and Vincent D'Onofrio play Vaughn's brothers. Vincent is great of course, and while I like Cole, he sort of disappears halfway through (and isn't missed, and in fact his one on one scene with Vaughn at a trendy club should be cut). Everyone else does their job and moves on, it's really Vaughn and Aniston's show.
All in all, it's certainly an above average example of its type, and should do well at the summer box office, though it may disappoint the younger kids expecting another Wedding Crashers or whatever. It's definitely geared toward the upper end of the 18-49 demographic, and for me, that was a relief. I liked it a lot, I just think they need to find a way to keep the heart and comedy a bit more balanced, especially in the last act.