Directed by: Peyton Reed
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Vince Vaughn, Joey Lauren Adams,
Jon Favreau, Judy Davis, Vincent D’Onofrio,
Cole Hauser, John Michael Higgins
Released by: Universal
Short: Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn
prove that breaking up really is hard to do,
in this dark comedy that’s not afraid
to speak truth.
Lost that Lovin’ Feeling…
Harsh Reality of Incompatibility
opposites attract, but here…no. Brooke (Jennifer
Aniston) is an art dealer, while her boyfriend Gary (Vince
Vaughn) thinks that Michelangelo painted the Sixteen Chapel.
Gary’s passion is the Chicago Cubs, while Brooke
dreams of attending the ballet. He’s Mars, she’s
Venus, she’s a babe, he’s out of shape, he’s
a lout, she’s a nag.
Brooke and Gary break up, and it gets ugly, fast. The
schoolyard variety of humiliation and verbal bludgeoning
in the "Break-Up" is enough to make
one queasy. They divide their condo into territories,
Brooke holds a vote to remove Gary from their bowling
team, and Gary harasses Brooke’s a cappella singing
brother (the hilarious John Michael Higgins). It’s
a "War of the Roses" for the internet dating
era—thankfully, minus the physical violence.
violence or no, it’s dispiriting to spend an hour
and a half watching people more bent on humiliating each
other than getting on with their lives. You just want
to shake them both and say “Stop!” Yet somehow
director Peyton Reed ("Bring it On") humanizes
these characters by never letting us forget that behind
the ugly behavior there are real people who’ve been
Favreau is hilarious—and unrecognizable—as
a paunchy, goateed bartender who is Gary’s confidant.
And we hope and pray that this will be the movie that
finally makes Judy Davis a s-t-a-r: as Brooke’s
imperious boss, she doesn’t let middle age stop
her from being a sex-kitten.
what’s most remarkable about this film—and
the reason we liked it despite all the ugliness—is
that it’s not afraid to speak truth. Even if the
ends don’t justify the means, it’s a rare
and satisfying moment when Brooke and Gary finally get
to the heart of the matter. For a comedy, "The Break-Up"
is unusual, and refreshing.