You have to admire Jennifer Aniston for choosing to tackle a role of this nature so soon after her high profile break-up with, now ex-husband, Brad Pitt. It reveals a certain tenacity and drive that we’ve come to expect from her. And a certain get-up-and-go that we associate with her character Rachel Green from Friends. Of course, it’s nice to think we know the people who invade our ordinary lives in films and various forms of media but the reality is we don’t.
It’s this assumed identification with Aniston that may just have made The Break-Up so successful overseas. By providing viewers with a glimpse or a tiny strand of what she must have felt like and gone through with Pitt they are allowed a peek into her private world, even if it is completely fabricated and the differences between Vince Vaughn and Pitt are like chalk and cheese.
The Break-Up has been described as an ‘anti-romantic’ comedy and that’s exactly what it is. It examines the process of a full-blown melt down between two people who should have probably never gotten together in the first place.
Unfortunately, the film takes its anti-romantic aspirations to such a level that it quickly becomes tepid and unsatisfying to watch. I understand that the film is a reaction against the usual romantic comedy formula but what the filmmakers and screenwriters have done is separate the film so much from the conventions we have come to expect that it becomes unpleasant.
The idea is a good one. Have a couple fight over a condo they’ve shared for an extended period of time and watch as they disintegrate and try and win each other back. Unfortunately, scriptwriters Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender seem to have been uninspired when writing; the film is littered with scenes that are unexpected and mildly entertaining but there are never any stand-out moments. I was, sadly, bored from start to finish and I couldn’t wait for it to end.
Aniston and Vaughn are strong performers in their own right and The Break-Up allows their charms to come through, but when both are together on screen I never really cared if they made up or split up. There is no spark between their characters. Aniston is sweet and charming and Vaughn does his usual talk fast and be-obnoxious bit – which is funny at time – but the script lets them down.
The Break-Up could best be described as an art-house film that slipped into the big league because of its stars. I respect the fact that it is trying to do something different, but in the process of differentiating itself from the traditional romantic comedy it strays a bit too far.