Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Break-Up

2006, US, directed by Peyton Reed

Rating: ***

After seeing The Break-Up I had to go back and watch the trailer again, having formed the impression that this was the usual 90 minutes of problems and all's-well-that-ends-well template; apart from noting that much of the trailer never made it into the movie, it didn't seem like an unreasonable assumption. Instead, this is about as close to the bone as mainstream Hollywood fare gets - and not necessarily the funnybone, although there are some extremely amusing sequences (often of The Office variety: funny and yet painfully embarrassing at the same time). There's real fire and vitriol here as Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn go their separate ways (onscreen) after two years under the same roof, with extended and nasty fights that showcase Aniston's acting skills (already seen in films like The Good Girl and Friends With Money) and Vaughn's ability to deliver astounding chunks of text with nuance and rhythm (part of what made Wedding Crashers so manically funny). There's good support - and consistent fun - from Jon Favreau and Judy Davis (though you'd wish that an actress as fine as Davis had better parts, she has fun with this one), while Vincent D'Onofrio brings his full bag of tics to the part of Vaughn's older brother, and Jason Bateman does well by the role of the one rational friend the pair has left between them. Some fawned over director Peyton Reed's last effort, Down With Love (enjoyable though hardly original: haven't these critics seen the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?), but this is much flatter; the script and a bunch of actors who know their stuff do the heavy lifting.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States