A temporary home and repository for television and film critic Daniel Fienberg, formerly of HitFix.com and Zap2it.com and one half of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Moviewatch: "The Break-Up"
Director: Peyton Reed
Fien Print Rating (Out of 100): 39
In a Nutshell: There's a good dark comedy to be made about a couple that breaks up but each side refuses to leave their lovely condo, each doing their best to force the other to leave. This wishy-washy little disappointment isn't it, despite a promising beginning. For about 15 minutes, Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn appealing and realistically bicker, suggesting a couple that may love each other even if they have no business being together. Then, though, once the titular act occurs, the duo just decides to gently annoy each other into submission. Because the movie doesn't want you disliking either character too much, neither can do anything truly reprehensible, so there's no tension and no danger. Nobody makes the dog into pate, which is, as always, why "The War of the Roses" lingers on the mind as an expert pitch-black comedy and this doesn't. Several worthy supporting players -- particularly Jason Bateman and, to a lesser degree, an utterly adorable Joey Lauren Adams -- play valid parts earth and vanish. The leads try hard -- Vaughn's intensity [and puffiness] suggest he's on the verge of a coronary, while Aniston just does her solid Aniston thing (including a fleeting bit of rear nudity). It's not enough. But at least it's better than "The Da Vinci Code."
Oh and in case anybody's interested, they ended up going with the original ending, which tested badly, rather than the reshot second ending, which reportedly tested even worse. That's only a spoiler if you're the kind of person who paid attention to reshoots and whatnot.
My review of "The Break-Up" will be up on Zap2it on Friday, June 2.
My review of "The Da Vinci Code" is already up here.
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