Directed by: Peyton Reed
Premise: An unmarried couple (Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston) living in a condo engage in a test of wills after they decide to break up.
What Works: The Break Up is well cast. Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston do a very nice job in a script that has fairly complicated subtext. The scenes of dialogue between Vaughn and Aniston are very good, in part due to the writing and in part due to the delivery. The supporting cast is good as well, including Vincent D’Onofrio as Vaughn’s brother and Jon Favreau as Vaughn’s friend and conscience. The film is surprisingly dramatic and takes its subject matter very seriously. The narrative is a fresh take on the break up story and the film does manage to break some new ground, especially in its third act.
What Doesn’t: Those looking for a light romantic comedy will not find it here. The film is really a drama with comedic elements. The Break Up takes awhile before the film decides what it is going to be. Once it moves into full drama mode, the picture works well except for some moments that heap on the sentimentality and a denouement that reopens the conflict instead of resolving it.
Bottom Line: The Break Up is a good film. It is similar to Closer, although it uses more humor and its characters are not quite as cruel to one another. While The Break Up is not as good as that film, it is one of the best pictures Vaughn and Aniston have been involved in.
Episode: #102 (July 2, 2006)