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The Break-Up
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The Break-Up – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Wise-cracking Chicago tour-bus operator Gary (Vaughn) and his gallery-worker girlfriend Brooke (Aniston) have the kind of row all couples have after they’ve hosted relatives from both families for dinner: the kind where she moans that he never helps around the flat and where he moans that he works so hard that he needs to put his feet up when he gets home. She works too, of course.
But whereas this is exactly the kind of argument that millions of couples around the world are probably having right now, in this case, in a moment of exasperation, Brooke screams that she wants to break up and Gary takes her at her word.
Coming this suddenly, until they can make alternative arrangements, they end up having to stay in the same apartment, but he moves into the living room.
They each handle the situation differently – of course. Brooke starts to bring new guys to the apartment, in the hope of making Gary jealous. Gary just goes out drinking with his best friend Johnny (Favreau) and hosts wild parties when Brooke’s not around.
It’s a rom-com with a difference, which rather than following two singles coming together, chronicles the break-up of their union.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Ten out of ten for originality – it’s like a rom-com in reverse – how often are we asked to laugh at a relationship, racing inexorably towards the buffers? Aside from The War Of The Roses, there are few comedies about the end of relationships – and unlike that one, this is oddly good natured, nothing like as dark. We’re meant to enjoy seeing them break up – and oddly, it is actually quite good fun.
Aniston is warm, charming and irresistibly huggable – well irresistible to everyone except Vaughn — the obvious irony being that they’re supposedly a real life couple…but whether or not that’s just to sell the film, who knows?!.
Vaughn is his oft-seen cheeky chappy – hard on the outside, but a big softy deep down.
Favreau and Davis – as the two grotesques of the piece – turn in suitably over-the-top comic performances.
But the story itself just doesn’t hang together. Chief among the problems is that in reality, we never really believe that this couple would have been good together in the first place, so when it starts falling apart, we’re thinking it’s probably best for both of them anyway.
That being the case, Brooke’s sly efforts to lure her erstwhile lover back seem mindlessly futile – and the various changes of mind and heart are as incoherent as only a Hollywood movie can be – they have to stretch it out to at least and hour and a half, of course.
So don’t expect to learn anything about family relationships or the human condition, but do expect to be entertained by some sharp dialogue, offbeat situations and the bright performances – a particular highlight is seeing Vaughn and Favreau bouncing off each other again for the first time since Made, five years ago.

Opens nationwide 21st July 2006

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