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  Publicity Stills of "The Heartbreak Kid"
(Courtesy from UIP)

Genre: Comedy/Romance
Director: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
Cast: Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan, Malin Akerman, Jerry Stiller, Rob Corddry, Carlos Mencia, Scott Wilson, Danny McBride, Stephanie Courtney, Polly Holliday, Roy Jenkins
Runtime: 1 hr 55 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: R21 (Sexual Content)
Official Website: http://www.heartbreakkidmovie.com/

Opening Day: 6 December 2007


After years of bachelorhood, Eddie (Ben Stiller) starts to wonder if he is being too picky about the women he meets. So when a chance encounter with an alluring blonde named Lila (Malin Akerman) leads to a sweet romance, Eddie impulsively proposes. But right after the wedding, as the newlyweds get to know each other on the drive down the California coast, Eddie begins to realize he's made a terrible mistake. Soon after reaching their exotic Mexican hideaway, he falls for the down-to-earth Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), who has no clue he's on his honeymoon. Now Eddie has to find a way to extricate himself from his days-old marriage without losing the girl of his dreams.

Movie Review:

If anything, this inferior same-name remake of Elaine May’s marvelous 1972 tragicomedy, “The Heartbreak Kid,” represents Hollywood’s stinging practice of simplifying and negating the pain that is so intrinsic in humour by resorting to crude depictions of misogyny and plain heartlessness.

Never did I imagine that the perpetrators involved this time would be the Farrelly brothers, splendid situational comedians by nature and who have, to be fair, set the stage for the Judd Apatows of the world to mix deep-rooted affections for their characters with audacious transgressions and mucky yucks of physical comedy that felt like they were laughing with their characters rather than at them. It’s ironic that this script seems riper than their previous features in order for them to tap into those particular attributes. Consider their most popular films: “Kingpin” and its lovingly sleazy heart of gold as it navigates the tender journeys of two perpetual underdogs in a ruthless sport, “Dumb and Dumber” and the undercurrent of loneliness present for two friends that just don’t quite fit in with everyone else, “Me, Myself & Irene” and its observations on parenthood and manhood, “Shallow Hal” and its sympathetic perceptions on beauty, and finally “There’s Something About Mary” with Ben Stiller’s sad schmuck who finds himself together with the girl of his dreams.

Neil Simon’s original and often painfully perceptive script contains traces of truth about male anxiety and was bolstered by the pathos present in May’s intelligent direction and tangible sense of sadness shared by its characters. The framework shared by the two films revolves around a newlywed (Stiller) who immediately realises that he’s married the wrong girl (Malin Akerman) just as he meets and falls for the perfect girl (Michelle Monaghan), all during his honeymoon. There’s an insistent repugnancy in this premise for Stiller’s Eddie Cantrow, which would have been more apparent if it wasn’t for the undue dumbing down of his wife Lila into a maniacal caricature. This was a situation made uncompromising in the original film, with Lila being a wholly sympathetic mess of a woman, ditched for a wry blond bombshell by a selfish and insecure man who only sees value in the things that remain unattainable. Forgive the comparisons, but there is something clearly being redacted here that makes recycling its entire premise reductive and into a counterintuitive proposition on modern marital and social ceremonies.

As far as the film goes, it remains vicious towards the wrong characters and for the most part fair with the ones that do deserve scorn. The rewritten script shades its characters outside the lines in a story that needs exactitude and manoeuvring by its married man, instead of the over-the-top approach that desperately needed a slight toning down in order to fulfill the warm side of their comedy. However, this imbalance does not take away from the Farrellys’ knack for perfect comic timing, exceptionally performed by the enthusiastic Akerman, who despite getting an unfair shake character-wise, manages to upstage Stiller’s straight-man shtick (that veers dangerously close to “There’s Something About Mary” territory) in their scenes together. And the casting of Jerry Stiller is always a smart one.

This is the Farrellys’ weakest and most desperate film to date. Yes, even more so than “Osmosis Jones”. Even so, there are few moments of inspiration present in the film but the strange thing is that these moments emerge from the subtle interactions that are so inherent to the nature of the characters, which are characteristics of the best Farrelly Brothers films. Perhaps this might just be an indication of what this remake was lacking.

Movie Rating:

(Just not that funny or even interesting compared to the far superior original film)

Review by Justin Deimen



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. 40 Year- Old- Virgin (2005)

. Wedding Crashers (2005)

. Who Slept With Her? DVD (2007)

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