Director: Peyton Reed
Starring: Jennifer Anniston, Vince Vaughn
There is something quite brilliant about sticking on a film which allows you to just lay back and switch to auto-pilot. Letting the film wash over your passive, relaxed mind and not really taking too much concern with plot or acting, just enjoying cheap, easy laughs and a handful of popcorn. I like to have this kind of experience maybe once a week (don’t judge me), so it’s lucky that I have an array of mediocre films which require little engagement in my DVD collection. On this particular night, Jennifer Aniston seemed to be the common link between the choices; a toss up between the more recent ‘We’re The Millers’ or ‘The Break-Up’ of 2006. Upon my partner’s recommendation, ‘The Break-Up’ won the right to a dusting off and a rare playback.
As you may have guessed, this isn’t a boy-meets-girl, romantic comedy. This is a story of how it can all go wrong, taking us through the sour break up of Brooke (Aniston) and Gary (Vince Vaughn). Gary is lazy, selfish, and has gotten complacent in his efforts to sustain a happy relationship, so it comes as no surprise when Brooke finally loses it. The pair then enter a fight to maintain ownership of their condo and score points against each other, with rather awkward, tempestuous results.
If there’s one thing Jennifer Aniston is good at, it’s these kind of comedies. But, aside from the ‘Horrible Bosses’ movies, that’s all she ever is – good. She’s reasonably funny, has a certain likeability, and she’s an attractive lady, but in a film like this there’s very little scope to excel or do anything different and interesting. Vince Vaughn on the other hand – and I know I’m not alone in thinking this – is just a bit of a shitty actor who more often than not, makes shitty films. Whilst he is amusing in ‘Old School’, and has achieved some kind of odd cult status for his role in ‘Dodgeball’, the rest of his career has been littered with misses. That said, this is arguably one of his better performances; playing an asshole may well come quite naturally to Vince, who knows. In supporting roles, Jason Bateman quietly entertains but it is Jon Favreau who actually turned in the best performance, as Vaughn’s brutally honest, comical best pal.
There is very little to say about films like this; they’re not made to be judged on their cinematography, or even their actors, to an extent. What we are looking for here is comedy, the quality of the punchline and the one-liners. ‘The Break-Up’ is by no means the funniest film I’ve ever seen, but it’s not the worst comedy out there and is actually, probably better than average. With a pretty interesting storyline, strong character development and jokes which deliver manageable portions of laughter, ‘The Break-Up’ is a good choice for the nights you want to switch the brain off for a bit.