Thursday, May 17, 2007
Peyton Reed's "The Break-Up"
This is one of those perfectly fine films which was critically penalized because of what went on behind the scenes - namely, the off-screen break-up of star Jennifer Aniston and her husband Brad Pitt and her eventual/alleged hook-up with her co-star, Vince Vaughn.
Too bad because what the critics missed while making bad, prurient jokes about celeb hijinks is an uncompromising, often harsh but very accurate examination of a relationship unraveling. In this comedy, the "jokes" hurt. They're unusually brutal.
It's impressive that the astute script was written by two men, Jay Lavender and Jeremy Garelick, because they're created an amazingly empathetic role for Aniston who tears into it as if it were a raw slab of meat. Her performance here is auspicious, as she registers disappointment and frustration in counterpoint to Vaughn's glib, unfeeling self-entitlement. The guy definitely comes off worse here.
The actual scene in which the pair breaks up - and extended arguement played out in real time - is arguably the best screen writing done last year. That scene alone, which runs about ten minutes, can stand on its own as a complete, self-contained movie.
Definitely worth a second look, now that the tabloid dust has settled.
(Artwork: Still shot of Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston in Universal's "The Break-Up")
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Posted by joe baltake at 7:42 PM