The Break-Up (***)

Posted on June 4th, 2006 in Movie Reviews by EngineerBoy

Unfortunately for a film like The Break-Up, the marketing dweebs in Hollywood feel compelled to over-publicize the film and let many cats out of many bags. As such, many of the best parts of this film were reruns due to their placement in the vast number of trailers and commercials for this film. Even so, the film is *still* funny, Aniston and Vaughn have the actual chemistry of an actual couple (and I don’t mean that as a reference to their supposed involvment, I mean it from a script+acting+directing perspective), and the story is fresher than it has any right to be.

For those living under a rock, the story is that Aniston’s and Vaughn’s characters meet (cute), fall in love, buy a condo together, spend a few years together, then break up during a wicked fight about pent up resentments. However, neither will leave the condo, and thereby hangs the tale. This isn’t a film as dark as something like The War of the Roses, but it’s also not When Harry Met Sally or (insert title of any Hugh Grant film). My gut feeling is that anybody who has been both in and out of love will find something to relate to in this movie.

For example, there’s a scene where the couple prepare for having both their families over for dinner. Vaughn’s sole job was to bring home 12 lemons. He brings three. When Aniston asks why he didn’t bring the 12 lemons she asked for, he wonders why she would need 12 lemons. They were for a centerpiece, and when he realizes they were “show lemons” that nobody would eat, he cares even less that he got the wrong number and suggests practical (for a man) alternatives like making the centerpiece in something smaller, like a glass, or not having a centerpiece at all and instead putting the lemons on the chicken that he tasted, implying it needs a little something.

After the dinner party, he proceeds to crash on the couch playing video games while Aniston is left with the cleanup.

Most of this information has been related in trailers, clips, and commercials, so I don’t feel bad about repeating them here, and they present the crux of the ensuing argument that causes the eponymous break-up.

There is an interesting point to this film, as with almost all films about relationships, which is that the man’s viewpoint, due to its lack of emotional sensitivity, is “wrong” and must be changed, while the women’s is “right” and long suffering. This film doesn’t paint it quite that black-and-white, but in the end it does tend in that same direction. I’ve always disliked that viewpoint, as it discounts the thoughts and feelings of men out-of-hand.

For example, *his* job involves owning a business with his three brothers, while *her* job involves working in an art gallery selling art. Having been both a business-owner and an employee, I can tell you that owning a