After a dinner party with Brooke’s family, including her brother Richard (John Michael Higgins – Best In Show, Fun With Dick and Jane), father Howard (Vernon Vaughn – Made, Swingers) and mother Wendy (Ann-Margaret – Any Given Sunday, Grumpy Old Men), that ends in a fight, Brooke (Jennifer Aniston – The Good Girl, Friends With Money) breaks up with Gary (Vince Vaughn – Swingers, The Wedding Crashers), her boyfriend of 3 years. Neither of them wants to move out of the gorgeous Chicago condo that they live in so it becomes a game of who will break first. This is all out war.
Brooke does not really want to break up with Gary, but just wants him to apologize for not appreciating her. She, with the help of her best friend Maddie (Joey Lauren Adams – Chasing Amy, Dazed and Confused) and her boss Marilyn Dean (Judy Davis – Husbands and Wives, Naked Lunch), launches an all-out campaign, involving bikini waxes and making Gary jealous by dating other men, to get Gary to break and beg to for her to come back. Gary, in the meantime, is taking advice from his best friend, Johnny (Jon Favreau – Elf, Rudy) and one of his brothers, Lupus (Cole Hauser – Good Will Hunting, 2 Fast 2 Furious). The advice he gets ranges from hiring a hitman to inviting young women over to play strip poker. Their friend and real estate agent, Riggleman (Jason Bateman – from television’s Arrested Development), after witnessing a knock down drag out fight over Pictionary one evening, finally advises them to sell their condo. They agree. All the ‘fighting’ that is going on distracts both from the fact that they still might have feelings for each other.
People are going to go see this movie because of Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston being in it and their supposed off-screen romance. Well, they are good in their roles, I mean, when is Vince Vaughn not entertaining? They definitely also have nice on-screen chemistry. I would, however, not make the mistake of going to see this film thinking it was a romantic comedy; it falls more into the category of black comedy. It is not a happy little romance with a typical ending (I applaud the makers of the film for not going for the ‘happy’ ending), but more an exploration of what can and does happen when a relationship goes bad. Director Peyton Reed (Down With Love, Bring It On) has allowed his characters to be seen warts and all in this picture. At different times in the film you will dislike the two main characters. Aniston’s Brooke because she is so pompous and controlling and Vaughn’s Gary because he is so self-centered and a jerk. I see this film as less a romantic comedy and more as a modern version (and not necessarily a better one) of the film The War of The Roses. It is realistic in that when relationships fall apart it is generally not pretty or funny, but there are still some moments in the film that are quite unbelievable. Despite all the rotten things they do to each other Gary and Brooke still tend to have those moments where they look at each other with stars in their eyes. C’mon! I am not sure how the public will receive this film as Aniston is not her usual likable self (her character is very hard to like even though you can see her point about Gary) and it is definitely not a feel-good film. Despite all that I found myself liking the film just for the fact that it tried something different from your typical tired old formulaic romantic comedy.
- Improv with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau
- In Perfect Harmony: The Tone Rangers
- The Making of The Break-Up
- Three Brothers: A Tour of Chicago