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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Anonymous said...

At last! A voice of reason. I felt the same way about "The Break-Up." Pretty tough movie and what I liked about it is that it didn't cop you.

Anonymous said...

That scene you mention is GREAT. It contains some of the best acting in recent years. "The Break-Up" really got a raw deal because, like you say, it's an uncompromising film on a subject everyone can relate to.

Anonymous said...

I admire Vaugh in this film for daring to be unlikable and unsympathetic. He could have played the character as just another guy-comedy goofball, but he brought layers to it.

sanyal said...

yes... and the thing's very realistic... especially the ending... the fact that they do not get back adds to it...

Jason said...

This is pretty crazy.. I just travelled to America to marry my fiancé after she told me she's leaving... Been here two days and see this movie on tv and realise what's happened with me is precisely what's happened with vince's character in this movie!! I have not even managed to see my girl and am still in my hotel room ... Irony .... That I turn on the box and see exactly what I went through and am now. Very good movie regardless on my situation. The point is ... Treasure what has become valuable to you and don't take it for granted.