The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"The Break-Up" (2006)

The relationship between public celebrity and private lives is great fun to speculate about, but who really knows how “real” the Jennifer Anniston-Vince Vaughn relationship really is?  Who cares?  Apparently, much of America.  Tabloids have only to feature a picture of Anniston and her erstwhile rival, Angelina Jolie, on the same cover to boost sales.

One would suspect that there is much private pain in Jen’s life, as she struggles to build a major film career, and deal with one of the most public divorces in memory.

“The Break Up” comes in the middle of all this.  Marketed as a “wacky comedy” it is actually an intelligent, rather insightful, painful trip through the slow-motion destruction of love and dreams.  Their characters, who have been living together for a couple of years, find themselves in a place of total miscommunication.  Vaughn is an amiable slob, childish, self-centered, and oblivious.  Anniston is manipulative and dishonest.  A match made in heaven.

It’s painful to watch them thrash around, each believing that they know what is right, and what will work, and what the other is thinking.  Yuck.  Most of the really funny moments are in the trailer…and what remains is a fairly adult comedy of mismanners, and overall some of the best work Anniston has done.  I’d give it a “B.”

There is only one dark face in the entire film.  In a movie swollen wall-to-wall with slender, attractive, well made-up white women, the single black character is an obese, unattractive black woman bus driver who works for Vaughn. Thanks a lot, Vince.

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