had a nagging thought after seeing The Break-up. That's
unusual because it's not the thought-provoking sort of movie.
It's the kind of toilet paper that Hollywood specializes in; shitty
but disposable, dissolving in the sewers of our minds and then
forgotten before heading back to the shit-processing plant of
Hollywood where it will be retrieved and recycled into more toilet
thought I had was, "Man, I never had a break-up that easy." What
the hell are these pussies so worked up and mopey about?
Break-up is a comedy about two people who split. The humor
is supposed to come from how messy the break-up is and how vicious
the people behave. Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, the two
leads, still talk to each other after they split. Who ever heard
of that? Yell at each other across a bar and key a note into the
paint of the other's car, sure. Talk in civil tones? Try to get
back together without it beginning with a violent fuck in an alley
that feels something like love despite all the animosity, right
up until you come? Then, not only do you hate him/her but also
yourself. And you cry a lot.
calling it quits, Aniston and Vaughn live under the same roof.
And nobody gets an eye shot out with a pellet gun. That's like
no break-up I've ever heard of. Sure, they don't sleep in the
same room, but at the same time, neither of them has homicidal
fantasies and wanders into the other's room with a USS Maritz
commemorative letter opener and guts the other like a catfish,
all soft and warm with creamy purple intestines flooding out in
bloody lumps. Nowhere in this movie does Vaughn or Aniston tell
the other's friends that he/she got genital warts from the ex.
Vaughn doesn't do a late-night drive-by of his ex's place just
to see if the lights are on, whose car is parked out front, what
she's wearing and to piss on the bushes. And Aniston never sees
Vaughn's car a few ahead of hers in a traffic queue, then follows
it relentlessly for hours in circles around the city, getting
dangerously close to the rear bumper, glaring angrily through
the windshield, occasionally shaking her head disapprovingly for
all the heartache he has caused her and that can only be reciprocated
by slamming his car into a Jersey barrier or oncoming traffic.
Nowhere in this movie does Vaughn drink himself into such a stupor
that he loses the use of his legs and so slithers his way to the
bathroom, where he pisses the pajama pants he's been wearing for
four days, but is proud of himself for having the dignity to not
do it in the living room.
how can this movie be about a break-up? It's not, really. It is
about unpleasantness, whining, moping and being so sour that very
few funny moments or empathetic characters survive. Seriously,
a cloud of bitterness hangs over this movie like smog over Pomona.
it's about feelings and the difficulty people have expressing
them. The problem is that Vaughn and Aniston have nothing to express.
Their characters are never defined enough to mean anything or
resonate with anyone. They are stereotypes from stand-up comedy
routines circa 1985. "Men and women are different. Am I right,
people?" (Applause). Had either of the main characters watched
Evening at the Improv 20 years ago they could have avoided
this entire mess. Had the writers and director, we as an audience
could have avoided it. It's too bad that neither character has
any likable traits besides being prettty, or that they only truly
feel the pain of the break-up when their precious yuppie condo
has to be sold. But that's what this movie is about. It is more
about things on the outside than it is about all the black shit
that bubbles up from inside when you tear away from someone you
Break-up never touches upon the emotional devastation one
feels after an ex tells you she doesn't love you now, in fact
never loved you, fucked your best friend and, oh, also just set
fire to your car. It's not about a knock-down, drag-out fight
that ends under the Tavern's shuffleboard court where a woman
you took to the movies twice and felt up in the Olde Town grandstand
scratches your cornea with her acrylic nails until your vision
is clouded by blood for two weeks and is permanently obscured
are the hallmarks of any real and heartfelt split; the way a normal
person deals with the dissolution of a dream or the loss of all
romantic hope. A normal person puts Galaxie 500's "Listen the
Snow is Falling" on repeat for 18 hours because it makes him think
of her and all the times they listened to it together on long
car trips and she would tell him how much she hated that song.
In a true break-up, emotions are raw and exposed like the heart
of one of those sick kids on a late-night commercials for the
Make-a-Wish foundation who was born with her organs outside her
chest cavity. You know, the kids you want to poke with a stick.
Logic is frayed and intermittent. Your cognitive sense is cloudy.
You can float through an entire day without being conscious of
your actions, and yet, at a half-past midnight, there you are
half-naked on the corner of Olde Wadsworth and Ralston, drunk
and throwing rocks at passing motorists, just as you would have
any other night. You are overwhelmed by a sense of dread that
feels the way that one song on Low's "Things We Lost in the Fire"
way Aniston and Vaughn first meet is, I think, supposed to be
cute, and it may be in some frat guy's wet dreams. Vaughn condescends
and bosses around Aniston and she acts so damn stupid that she
falls for it. If I were a girl and he tried his bullshit pickup
lines on me, I'd punch him in the nuts. Those first few minutes
really set the tone for how clueless the writer and director are
about what men and women find attractive.
secondary characters of The Break-up are underdeveloped
and virtually meaningless. You don't know Vaughn or Aniston any
better by who they hang out with, or what they say to them. Well,
you do know they complain a lot and their friends listen. But
you don't get any insight into what drew the exes to each other
or kept them together.
particular, I got the sense that there was once a funny gag involving
Jason Bateman's realtor that got edited out. What is left is a
shell of a character and the setup for a joke that never gets
told. John Favreau, whose whole body is as fat as Vince Vaughn's
face, gets a few good lines in, but has the thankless job of knowing
all and explaining all because it was easier for the plot to keep
Vaughn as dense, blustering and clueless as a House Republican.
I'm off base, here. Maybe this is how yuppies really live. I might
go peek in a few windows in West Arvada tonight to find out. If
it is, I'm going to stop stop being jealous of how they waste
their disposable income on perennials and not on liquor. They're
just too shallow and sad to care about. One Finger for
Want to tell Filthy Something?