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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.94%
Worth A Look49.02%
Average: 9.8%
Pretty Bad: 29.41%
Total Crap: 8.82%

11 reviews, 36 user ratings

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Break-Up, The
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by EricDSnider

"Dear Men: Here's what's wrong with you. Love, Women."
4 stars

The surprising thing about "The Break-Up" is not how funny it is, as that's to be expected, but how serious it is. Also surprising: It works.

Here is a believable, non-sappy, unforced breakup comedy that dares to defy expectations of what a "breakup comedy" should be. The story of Gary (Vince Vaughn) and his girlfriend Brooke (Jennifer Aniston), who both refuse to vacate the condo they co-own even after their relationship disintegrates, doesn't become a "War of the Roses"-style farce, nor does it follow the conventions of the traditional romantic comedy. It's something else -- a light drama with several laugh-out-loud moments and a smart sensibility.

I think it will disappoint a lot of people. Vince Vaughn fans won't find the next "Wedding Crashers" or "Old School," though Gary is certainly a kindred spirit to the overgrown teenagers Vaughn played in those films. And romantic-comedy fans will find "The Break-Up" devoid of the glossy emotional manipulation they crave.

Directed by the super-savvy Peyton Reed ("Bring It On," "Down with Love") and written by Vaughn's buddies Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender from an idea he conceived with them, "The Break-Up's" breakup starts with a dinner party for their families thrown by Gary and Brooke in their trendy Chicago condo. Brooke has worked all day at an art gallery and has cooked and cleaned on top of that; Gary has spent the day giving bus tours for the company he runs with his brothers and now wants to watch ESPN rather than help Brooke prepare for the arrival of their guests. The capper? The ONE thing Brooke asked him to do -- bring home a dozen lemons -- he has failed to do.

As their relationship dissolves -- she feels unappreciated, he feels indignant at her feeling unappreciated -- they go through the usual steps, including childish behavior and petty revenge tactics. Their stubborn refusal to cancel an already-planned game night with friends has hilarious results. Brooke's best friend Addie (Joey Lauren Adams) is ripe with own-your-feelings advice, while Gary's brothers (Cole Hauser and Vincent D'Onofrio) and best friend (Jon Favreau) are sometimes helpful, sometimes juvenile.

The film's promotional tagline ("pick a side") suggests a battle of the sexes, but that's not what happens. Most of the blame for the breakup is clearly Gary's, and the film makes no attempt to suggest otherwise. Men will wince as they see Gary making the same stupid mistakes they've made, and women will smile smugly to see their point of view vindicated -- in a movie written and directed by men, no less.

It's a droll, enjoyable film with a resolution that, despite being the product of studio-ordered re-shoots, is actually satisfying. Could the film be funnier? Yeah, and I think maybe it should be, too. Vaughn and Favreau have just enough scenes together to make you think, "Man, I wish they had more scenes together," and some of the slyly funny supporting characters -- John Michael Higgins as Brooke's a cappella-singing brother, Jason Bateman as the couple's friend/Realtor, Judy Davis as the owner of the art gallery and Justin Long as its fey receptionist -- are underused.

Yet I'm impressed by how honest the scenes between Brooke and Gary are. Nearly everyone has experienced a breakup before, so why are breakups so rarely portrayed accurately in movies? Vaughn, who is probably the best Everyguy in movies today, and Aniston, with all of America on her side no matter what, are both likable and empathetic in their performances. We want them to be happy, whether that means staying apart or getting back together.

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originally posted: 06/02/06 17:13:24
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User Comments

12/24/13 Michelle O the butt & side boob shots did NOT makeup for the Aniston/Vaughn verbal abuse 1 stars
3/18/13 Mireya funny movie 4 stars
8/31/11 Layla Why is it that men are "always wrong" in movies? She was manipulative. 2 stars
9/17/10 student of rhetorical criticism @Alejandra how do you think it depicts sexism.Iwhat are the stereotypes author talks about 4 stars
8/16/09 Dkl Underrated, certainly better than the critics general consensus 4 stars
7/12/09 the dork knight Vince acts like a petulent child. Not exactly an equal playing field if you're male. 3 stars
7/06/08 John Millheim Funny, Jen and Vince fighting was a trip 4 stars
8/13/07 Annonomiss Bickering got old. Was it trying to be a comedy or a drama? Elements of both. Skip it. 2 stars
5/24/07 ES Some really good jokes, a great story and terrific performances with an ending that works 4 stars
2/18/07 David Pollastrini jen looked great walking through the house naked! 4 stars
12/29/06 Kimberly The movie got to the end and we were like, "that's it??" I think the ending was really bad 2 stars
12/04/06 Alejandra Depicts the sexism in society today 5 stars
11/26/06 dawna so who thinks they get back together? 4 stars
11/24/06 cody a ok movie with good performance by jennifer and vince, but the ending suck. 2 stars
10/29/06 Alyssa very good movie. but definitly should not be recognized as a comedy. 4 stars
10/25/06 Drew G All of the funny scenes were in the trailer... everything else was just depressing 2 stars
10/23/06 Cara Critics are not giving it enough credit. Was an excellent, yet different movie. 5 stars
9/03/06 Christopher Stucky Left a bad taste... mean-spirited and not very funny. 3 stars
8/26/06 Steve-O Vaughn was hilarious, Aniston was adorable, and it gave me an ending I could respect. 4 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant I'm still amazed I liked this. Vaughn was funny, Aniston was bleh... ballsy ending. 4 stars
6/30/06 jcjs i liked it, funny, real, Jennifer beautiful as usual, Vince great..Chicago, yeh..nice show 4 stars
6/25/06 Alejandro Luna Anniston's lame performnce and weepy girl act is really starting to rattle my cage 1 stars
6/19/06 Mase Aniston=Tanned Skeleton, Vaughn and Favereu=slobby pigs!! otherwise pretty funny 4 stars
6/18/06 Violet Absolutely the best movie in a very long time. Must see for men of all ages. real life 5 stars
6/12/06 Brent I liked the funny parts, but it's a downer - I feel like throwing myself off a bridge now 4 stars
6/11/06 Joe Smaltz two hours of my life I will not recover. Gigli, Ishtar,& Waterworld were more interesting 1 stars
6/08/06 btvs2678 was ok, good rental. If going thru a break up wait to see it or you will be hurting 3 stars
6/07/06 Maxima Cirunay Worth a look; realistic! 4 stars
6/06/06 Christen disappointing-made to look funnier and better than it is-wait til it comes out on video 3 stars
6/05/06 Melina very funny and the fights were painful and hit close to home 4 stars
6/05/06 Lord Jiggy Much funnier than critics are giving it credit for...enjoyable. 4 stars
6/04/06 michael close to real life for some but worth watching 4 stars
6/04/06 Sarah Was unrealistic that they never tried it again or had "make up sex." 4 stars
6/04/06 Roberta Mendlovitz unfortunately a true, very true story see it! 4 stars
6/03/06 San Lamar it had its moments, good to see at least once 4 stars
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  02-Jun-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 17-Oct-2006



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