Reviewing the Reviews: 'The Break-Up'
Surfing the net this morning to find the best of the (almost uniformly negative) review headlines for the new Vince Vaughn-Jennifer Aniston vehicle The Break-Up, I found myself getting distracted by the brutal reviews themselves. Some of critics’ barbs were so scathing, in fact, that I couldn’t keep them to myself. Read on:
The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Mike LaSalle: ”Imagine watching Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage, except without good scenes, without a marriage (legal or spiritual) and without people worthy of anybody’s attention, even each other’s. Now imagine something even worse.”
The Indianapolis Star‘s Christopher Lloyd: ”Watching The Break-Up is like riding in a car when the driver’s asleep at the wheel, and you’re slowly drifting off the straightaway and into the brambles. You can see what’s wrong, but you’re powerless to do anything but tighten your seat belt, grit your teeth and hope the driver wakes up in time.”
The New York Post‘s Lou Lumenick: ”The must-miss The Break-Up arrives more or less simultaneously with the child of Brangelina. Will Jennifer Aniston’s humiliations never end?”
The A.V. Club‘s Keith Phipps: ”It’s like watching the ‘we were on a break’ episode of Friends stretched to feature length, and without the blessed relief of commercial breaks or the promise of Seinfeld around the corner.”
L.A. Weekly‘s Joe Donnelly: ”Think The War of the Roses lite — sans the emotional investment of watching a real partnership disintegrate into hell. Speaking of hell, Ann-Margret as Brooke’s mother, Judy Davis as her gallerist boss and Vincent D’Onofrio as Gary’s brother all look like they stepped into the seventh layer during their wasted cameos. I hope Ann-Margret works again; I don’t want to remember her this way.”
The Boston Globe‘s Ty Burr: ”As for Aniston, she’s as likable as ever, but her dramatic range has never looked narrower, and if there’s any heat to her real-life relationship with Vaughn, it evaporated before it reached the camera. Can Aniston play anything but Rachel 2.0? Does she even want to? That trapped look in Brooke’s eye isn’t a character in a bind; it’s an actress in a rut.”
All I can say is uff-da! After countless months of are-they-or-aren’t-they speculation about the off-screen relationship between the film’s stars, I was kind of excited to check out their on-screen chemistry, but this critical savaging has me wondering if The Break-Up is doomed to the same fate as other star-couple bombs like Vanilla Sky and Proof of Life. Whatever the film’s fate, though, at least Vaughn can take comfort in a new site, Do You Speak Vince Vaughnese?, that compiles the best of his film quotes. Come to think of it: This might be a funnier (and cheaper) alternative to his latest movie offering.