Thursday, December 14, 2006

"THE BREAK UP"

Jennifer Aniston, Vince Vaughn, Jov Favreau, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jason Bateman, Judy Davis, Joey Lauren Adams

" ... pick a side"



As the title suggests, this film is a glimpse into the life of a couple, Gary and Brooke who decide to end their relationship. It begins with a short introduction of their happy times together as shown by a collage of pictures in the opening credits. Followed by the usual snippet of how they met, what they do for a living, who their friends are and where they live.

Then one night while preparing dinner for family members, Brooke airs all her frustrations vis a vis their relationship after arguing over the quantity of lemons for the table centerpiece. Gary naturally vehemently defends himself. They manage to keep it under wraps during the dinner party by being civil to each other and try to be accommodating towards their guests. Once they are alone again, all hell breaks loose. Insinuations fly. Hurtful words are uttered. Accusations bounce off the walls. Endless nit picking. Finger pointing arguments. A really intense moment. Woman has had enough, she breaks up the relationship then storms off to her room. Guy is tired of arguing. He is stunned a few awkward minutes of silence ensues while he process the situation then picks up his jacket and goes off to a bar to cool off. Ugh. At that precise moment, I yelled at the screen "hey what are you doing? where are you going? Why don't you just do the damn dishes just like she asked? Everything would be alright in the morning" But of course, men never do the dishes unless they are told so fair enough that was a realistic reaction from the guy.

Then comes the 'strange' part, neither of them moves out of their condo and get all territorial on their personal spaces. He camps out at the living room area with his things scattered all over the place. She reigns supreme in their master bedroom.

The good thing is that they both have a good moral support system going on through their friends and family. How appropriate that Vincent D'Onofrio is cast as his brother in this film? I have always maintained that those two look alike from their height to their body build. Well anyways, I actually cheered and appreciated the amicable way this movie ended. No over the edge hysterics, no loud shouting matches, no mushy romantic interludes. Just being civil, respectful of each other's decisions and moving on with their separate lives.

Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn work well together. She is good in these kind of roles where she doesn't try too hard to be funny or goofy like her Rachel Green character in "Friends". Maybe she was channeling her inner conflicted self as she was dealing with her very public divorce from Brad Pitt during the filming of this movie. She was convincing as the aggrieved party in the break up. I mean, really now ... if you were in a relationship with a guy who would come up with every single excuse not to do the dishes or help in the household chores, I'm sure you would be climbing the walls and losing your mind. Vince Vaughn seems to strive in playing either some con artist (The Wedding Crashers; Starsky & Hutch) or some loud mouth loser who thinks he is cool (Dodgeball; Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy). He has good comedic timing though and can rattle off some witty funny lines like a machine gun. I hope he won't be typecast into playing such mediocre characters. I believe he has the potential to be a really bad villain (Psycho) in some Bruce Willis or Will Smith action flick.

I end by saying this film confirms several points about maintaining a healthy and meaningful relationship such as "you cannot really change someone". "Dropping hints won't work. Men never get them". "Men are not mind readers. But if you tell them to do something they accuse you of being a nag". But, of course it takes two to tango. Only thing I can say with absolute conviction is there must be a certain time frame or limit to the amount of emotional abuse one can take. If you feel you are not appreciated for who you are, then by all means, break it off and move on. Why suffer? It isn't easy but I know I have and I certainly have no regrets.

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