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The Heartbreak Kid
A Near Heartbreaker
by Matt Forsman on Oct 05, 2007
There was a time in the not so distant past when any comedy that included the involvement of one (or both) of the Farrelly brothers virtually guaranteed a comedy of galactic, epic proportions. Films like Kingpin and Thereís Something About Mary and, arguably, Dumb and Dumber fall into this category. However, since Thereís Something About Mary, the Farrelly brothers just havenít quite been able to put together a comedy as consistently and as creatively funny as the aforementioned. Unfortunately, their latest effort, The Heartbreak Kid is no exception.
The Farrelly brothers reunite with Ben Stiller in their latest effort and Ben plays in many respects the same character he played in Thereís Something About Mary. Stillerís Eddie Cantrow is a 40-year old single guy who owns a sporting goods store in San Francisco. Heís painfully single and on the receiving end of constant advice from his oversexed father (cleverly played by his real life dad, Jerry Stiller) and his henpecked married friend, Mac (Rob Corddry). Unfortunately, their "sage" advice hasnít exactly helped.
Fortunately, Eddie has a run in with a mugger on a bike that allows him to meet Lila (Malin Akerman), a gorgeous blonde with charm to kill. The honeymoon stage is sickeningly sweet and Eddie finds himself smitten in short order. Unfortunately, Lilaís an environmental scientist and sheís been asked to relocate to Rotterdam. Nearly crushed at the prospect of Lila leaving, Eddie acts impulsively and proposes after only knowing Lila scarcely six weeks. As it turns out thereís more to Lila than meets the eyeÖMUCH more.
In no time flat, Eddie finds himself disenchanted with Lila and drawn to Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), a woman he encounters during his honeymoon with Lila in Cabo. Cue ample awkwardness and near complete implausibility that almost derails the film. Stiller is effective as the awkward, confused, uncomfortable Eddie.
Frankly, itís hard to understand what kind of woman would be attracted to him -- aside from a lunatic like Lila. Eddieís obviously not too sharp for jumping into matrimony after scarcely six weeks and he seems to have some real problems communicating in an open and honest way. It becomes pretty clear why heís still single at age 40; the man isnít exactly relationship material.
Lila isnít exactly relationship material either. She seems nearly angelic prior to the honeymoon and quickly becomes something far less upon arriving in Cabo. The problem is that itís just not terribly believable that Lila would be able to conceal all that she discloses in Cabo without Eddie getting some hint of it in San Francisco prior to marrying her. Iím sorry, true lunatics just canít hide who they really are for more than about a week (if that).
The Farrelly brothers do a passable job of writing some amusing moments. But, the problem with many of the jokes is that they are similar to jokes weíve seen before in other Farrelly brother films, or at least the set up is very similar to other jokes weíve seen in previous efforts. So, thereís a lack of surprise that permeates much of the film. Way too much is telegraphed.
Additionally, the pacing of the film is not terribly consistent. Thereís Something About Mary was a veritable onslaught of jokes, all of which were pretty effective and paced well. With The Heartbreak Kid, the laughs are not nearly as frequent or consistent. It should also be mentioned that some of the jokes made at the expense of Latinos, homosexuals, and Asians are bound to offend. Granted, the Farrelly brothers have never been terribly PC, but even for someone pretty thick skinned, there are some jokes that donít go down too easy.
In short, what you have is a film that feels in some ways like a desperate attempt to recapture the comedic magic that was on display in Thereís Something About Mary. At best, The Heartbreak Kid is a mildly amusing (if not offensive) comedy. At worst, itís a poorly executed and contrived attempt at comedy that fails to surprise and reminds you just how long itís been since the Farrelly brothers have been able to deliver a truly entertaining and creative comedy.
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
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by Matt Forsman on Oct 05, 2007