The Break-Up

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The Break-Up
Review (7/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In The Break-Up, Brooke (Jennifer Aniston) and Gary (Vince Vaughn) meet at Wrigley Field in Chicago, where Gary uses his supposed wit and sense of humour to introduce himself. Somewhere down the line the two get together and fall in love and the opening credits of the movie takes us through a photo montage where we see the development of the relationship between the lovebirds. There are Halloween parties, Christmas get-togethers, exotic vacations - we get everything but the kitchen sink thrown at us and eventually learn that the couple is living in an upscale condominium in Chicago.

On the night of an important dinner party, Gary comes home with three lemons for Brooke - she wanted twelve. Brooke wants Gary to set the dinner table, Gary wants to watch sports highlights and lay on the couch. So far I see nothing wrong with Gary's behavior but Brooke is tired of his sports, his video games and his insensitive behaviour and Gary is upset because he wants a pool table where the dining room table sits. So the couple calls it quits. Only one hurdle remains before the final nail is driven into their relationship coffin - the condo. Neither wants to leave their former lovenest. So while they attempt to sort out the sordid details, they remain roommates, playing a deadly game of one-upsmanship with each other. Gary's game plan consists mainly of his previous relationship strategy - lying on the couch, playing video games and watching sports, although he does throw a wild poker party that includes tequila and strippers. Brooke's plan is a little more mischievious - she brings by other men to make Gary jealous, she walks around naked to show off her new "hair-do" shall we say, and she invites her oddball brother by to have a party in her bedroom. The brother is very feminine but still manages to kick Gary's ass. Despite the mind games, the couple continues to get advice from their best friends (played by Jon Favreau and Joey Lauren Adams) and even though they are at each others throats, you still wonder and perhaps hope that they can settle their differences and live happily ever after.

I have to admit I went into The Break-Up with very low expectations and I ended up liking this movie a lot more than I thought I would. There was nothing in the trailers that made me think it would be even remotely entertaining but it ended up being a funny, heart-wrenching and entertaining romantic comedy, if you even want to call it that. I'm sure too many dudes in this world will look at Vince Vaughn's character and feel like they are looking in a mirror. I know at times, I did. In many parts of the movie, it seems that Vaughn is talking off the top of his head without any sort of script and for the most part it works but sometimes it does get a bit cumbersome. Aniston does a good job of holding her own with Vaughn and at no time seems like she is out of place or in over her head. The supporting cast is effective as well. Favreau is superb at times and Brooke's brother (played by John Michael Higgins) has a film-stealing scene with his rendition of "Owner of a Lonely Heart" during a family dinner. I laughed a lot harder at that scene than I thought I ever would.

In the end, The Break-Up is an entertaining movie but probably not a movie for everyone. People who have been through a real-life break-up, who are stuck in a dead end relationship or who have a pretty sadistic sense of humour will probably enjoy it. It has a certain mature element to it, so it might not be a movie that appeals to all ages. Nevertheless, it's a smart movie, a humourous movie and an unfortunately truthful movie. Just don't go in expecting another Wedding Crashers.

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