The Breakup 2006
Director; Peyton Reed
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, Jon Favreau
Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn lock heads in this non-rom-com. i.e. there’s no romance, and almost no comedy. Sure, it starts at a traditionally (kooky) romantic ballgame, where Vince Vaughn first sees Jennifer Aniston, and snatches her away from her date by basically taking the piss out of him…and then seconds after we see their photo album during the titles, they’ve moved in together. And Jennifer Aniston is getting seriously annoyed at Vaughn about lemons. And they’re both irritating jerks with no redeeming features.
It’s nearly very clever because the angst is so familiar from our everyday interactions. This is what we could be if we fail to work on our problems or end up with totally the wrong person. This isn’t always romantic.
For something that’s allegedly a comedy, though, this is far too personal and, unfortunately, truthful to be easy to like. It’s also mean! Sorry, not mean in a good way. It isn’t a black comedy either, despite its stars and fierce ad campaign. It will not leave you feeling like you’ve watched anything hopeful, hilarious or insightful. It’s what we generally go to the cinema to escape from!
There should also be a warning for couples who rent this to watch together – this has the potential to cause arguments in a relationship – there are moments where you might be tempted to murmur to your partner, “You could do that more,” or, “That’s like you/us”. Stop! Think! Even said as a joke, you might find yourself quickly retracting it! That probably says more about the state of your own relationship, I guess. From a non-entertainment viewpoint, this film is an interesting exercise in examining what you might take for granted about the partner in your life.
Let’s face it, this is the kind of relationship snafu flick that that French film industry can make in its sleep – and Vaughn and Aniston make it very believable, but it lacks the charm that a (theoretical) French version could bring. And I not only mean ‘charm’ as in ‘distance because it’s subtitled and they’re speaking Francáis’! These characters get very little chance to prove they’re sympathetic. Or in love. And their friends are all just as horrible.
I actually think Aniston did a good job of being vulnerable, and Vaughn in being baffled by her overreactions. But let’s face it – it’s no fun at all being stuck in a room with a screaming, emotionally manipulative couple, and that’s exactly how this film feels for most of its run-time.