The Heartbreak Kid (2007) R 115min
October 13th, 2007 by Maxim · 1 Comment · 8,915 Views
Went with low expectations but was rather pleasantly surprised.
The plot: Eddie Cantrow (Ben Stiller) is an owner of a sport store in San Francisco. He’s 40 and single (The 40 year old virgin?). He’s constantly pressured and picked on by his 70 year old father Doc (Ben Stiller’s real-life father Jerry Stiller) and his best friend Mac (Rob Corddry) to either get married or behave like a real bachelor should behave. Adding to his misery was invitation to his ex-girlfriend’s wedding. Through a coincidence he meets his future wife, Lila (Malin Akerman), who, as far as he got to know her in 6 weeks of dating, was pretty wonderful. Alas they get married and go to Cabo for the honeymoon. There he finds out that there’s a lot he didn’t know about Lila. He also meets Miranda (Michelle Monaghan of Mission: Impossible III, Gone Baby Gone, North Country, Mr & Mrs Smith, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Bourne Supremacy… should I keep going?), a down-to-earth lacrosse coach, who’s also in the same Cabo hotel with her family on annual family reunion. He can’t help but compare his new wife to her and eventually one thing leads to another. He contemplates breaking up with Lila, but just doesn’t find the right moment to tell all truth to Miranda.
This movie if full of unexpected surprises. This comedy was probably written with Ben Stiller in the main role in mind: a role of a likable loser. Good to see him back after the unsuccessful “Night At The Museum” of last year. But in this movie he isn’t that likable because he only cares about what he wants. The chemistry between all characters was great, especially between Ben and his dad. The role is not new to Ben Stiller though, as it is mostly the same as he played in “There’s Something About Merry“ and “Along Came Polly“. There were some typical for Ben Stiller movies gross-out moments, such as toilet jokes and whatever Uncle Tito (Carlos Mencia) says and does – a main reason not to take your date to see it. A lot of physical humor. Otherwise a funny movie.
As far as Farrelly Brothers go, The Heartbreak Kid is much better then Dumb and Dumber. “There’s Something About Merry” was better then this film, so if you are looking for the same experience as “Merry“, keep looking. I got 4 or 5 good laughs, the rest of them were “ew, that was grossy” kind of laughs. Although the film strives to be a romantic comedy, but the romance for the most part is killed by immorality of Ben Stiller’s character. Lila was also too gross: she was a wife from hell, but also either intentionally deceiving or just not very clever. None of it is really rich or deep. The movie mostly plays on familiar stereotypes: from stereotype of bad marriage to gay men to Mexicans and illegal immigrants.
Carlos Mencia (Uncle Tito) – I did not like that character. I wonder if Carlos can tell himself from his character on Comedy Central these days.
Although this is a silly comedy and everything is not supposed to be realistic, but the general schema was believable. “Every joke is only a part of the joke, the rest of it is truth”. I can see how a guy can stay single till 40, how rumors and bad jokes can snowball, how a tiny lie to make one’s life a little easier at the moment can ruin one’s life in the long run.
We often see Miranda in slow motion – as if we were looking at her through Eddie’s eyes. She’s over the top perfect woman to him: she runs around, she laughs and smiles all the time and kids love her.
Miranda’s redneck family, her unbearable cousins in particular, were funny characters too: a nice play on the stereotype.
Some marriages fall apart on the honeymoon, and some end up like the marriage of Eddie’s best friend Mac (Rob Corddry) and Gayla (Stephanie Courtney): everyone is playing a role to keep the image of great marriage for the outside world, but it’s a marriage from hell when they are on their own and they can’t help but show it to the world through their plastic smiles and “I love you, darling” while grinding their teeth.
The ending was another surprise. It reminded me of 1961 Divorzio all’italiana. At the risk of spoiling it, all I am going to say is there are no winners – everybody here is a victim.
My favorite quote: “This is the Bible belt – they all have guns here”.
It may not be worth the price of movie tickets. You can safely wait for DVD release and rent it. Do not take your date to see it. It’s an OK gross-out comedy, but by no means does it compare to this year’s great comedies like “Superbad” and “Knocked up“. The audience in my theatre did laugh out-loud, but I heard a lot of “ews” as well.
I saw it in a small multiplex theater where film kept sliding out of the projector so I could see sound tracks projected on the side of the screen – distracting.
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