The Break-Up

The Break-Up movie posterHave you ever been smacked in the face while watching a movie?

No, I am not talking about that time your wife/girlfriend walked in on you watching… well, you know. I am talking about experiencing something being shown on the screen so closely, so clearly to situations or events from your life that it is spooky. That is this film for me.

This isn’t the first time either. No, I think the first time was while watching Swingers that first time. Spooky how Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau starred in that one as well. Oh, then there was Trainspotting, but that was only when I went toilet bowl diving for my smack.

No, seriously, Swingers and now The Break-Up. Swingers being mostly about a guy climbing out of a break-up and The Break-Up being about getting yourself into one. Other than that and the two lead actors, all similarities end there.

The Break-Up wasn’t exactly what I expected, so I suspect it will be the same for you. The trailer makes it out to be a comedy, but I didn’t find myself laughing much outside of what was in the trailer. No, it was a gut-wrenching and sad story about two people suddenly split apart and how they each deal with the event. That said, I still liked the movie, just not for the reasons I thought I would going in.

I don’t know that there’s a whole lot to spoil here except the ending, so maybe I’ll leave that for last and maybe I’ll warn you this time. I guess, you could also stop reading here and go check it out for yourself and come back and finish. I think you should check it out.

Guy’s are stupid, literal, stupid, lazy, stupid, selfish, defiant, selfish, irresponsible, selfish and stupid. I think that covers some of it. Wait, wait… let me prepend that statement by saying “Unmarried guy’s are…” Yeah, that works much better.

Don’t agree? Hmm… okay, I didn’t say “all” then, did I? Oh, and it doesn’t even matter how well you were raised and all that either. Maybe it does. Ah, forget it.

Vince Vaughn plays Gary Grobowski and he is all those things. He’s also a business owner — along with his two brothers, Vincent D’Onofrio and Cole Hauser — of the popular Chicago Three Brothers tour bus company, of which he is “The Talent.” Gary is a Cubs fan, a bowler, a lover of Games Night and talker of smack over the Internet at children with gaming handles like “Mad Dawg Killa.” He sees himself as a provider and enjoys his cave-time.

Jennifer Aniston plays Brooke Meyers and she is his girlfriend whom he poached off some plaid shorts, polo collar up, visor-wearing poof at a Cubs game. She works in an art gallery selling art for a past-her-prime diva. Brooke is loving, selfless, artistic, detail-oriented, beautiful and sweet. She’s not great at bowling, but tries anyway. She’s not big into sports, but goes anyway. Brooke enjoys doing things for Gary.

As the trailer hints, the break-up starts with 3 lemons instead of 12, crashing on the couch in front of SportsCenter instead of getting ready for a family dinner, playing Playstation and not wanting to do dishes. Of course, that’s not all it is about. It’s about Gary being a guy and not appreciating all that Brooke does for him. It’s about Gary not appreciating much of anything since he pretty much does what he wants. If you are with him, that’s cool. If not, then maybe next time.

Anyway, that night Brooke decides they are thru and Gary reacts like any guy, he takes off instead of talking it out. Off to drink beers at his boy Johnny O’s bar. At this point, Johnny O. is of no help. Before you say it, no it was a Ross and Rachel moment either. They weren’t “on a break!”

Well, maybe they were. Thru most of the rest of the movie, we see Brooke trying to bait Gary into apologizing and seeing the error of his ways. Gary is instead defiant and does his best to show Brooke that he is all man who not need woman in his cave, which they are still sharing by the way. I guess that’s the tagline about worrying who gets the condo, but this is no War of the Roses.

Okay, I read that last comparison somewhere… that’s not me. I’m not even sure I saw that entire flick. What was that? Romancing the Stone 3? I digress…

They also have a few fights in front of family and friends in some kind of pissing contest to have them choose sides at bowling and Games Night. I have to tell you, these were very well done because I sat in my seat very uncomfortably. I think everyone has had at least one of those or been around one and knows what it feels like. It was like that.

Eventually, Gary starts to get a clue, but still blows off what will turn out to be his last chance with Brooke by not showing for a concert she had bought him tickets for prior to the break-up. He comes home to find her very upset in her room where she more-or-less hints it is really over. Gary sees Johnny O. (Favreau) again and he finally gives Gary the talking he needed the first night and points out all his flaws. Thus, Gary has awakened into responsible, adult man who wants a relationship, so he sets out to make up his failings at work to his brother Dennis (D’Onofrio) by finally completing his month’s late logs over an all-nighter.

Brooke then comes home to find Gary has cleaned up the condo and prepared dinner. He gives her his speech of how he has awakened and that he might even go to the ballet. It’s too late. The condo has already been sold and Brooke has decided to take a trip to Europe or someplace. The window has closed. They are broken-up.

So, that’s the story in a nutshell, well… as only I can nutshell anything. A couple of other interesting items before I spoil the ending in the next-to-last paragraph (that’s a warning folks). Gary’s brother Lupus (Hauser) tries to take Gary out and show him how dating/hooking-up has changed in the two years since he was last on the market. The lesson Lupus gives is almost like Trent teaching Mikey the same thing in Swingers, only updated for a decade later. Then there is D’Onofrio as Gary’s other brother Dennis. Does this guy play any role straight anymore or is he really like that? It’s like he can only do odd now.

Justin Long also makes an appearance as Christopher the receptionist-type at the art gallery. You should see the look and character for yourself, but he was entertaining. Certainly more-so than the Apple ads. Kind of funny he’d be here after I was just ranting on that, but as an added bonus, the trailer for Accepted was one of the previews and he stars in that. Looks to be a rip-off of Kids World for the college crew and no, I have never seen that. I only remember it because Christopher Lloyd was in it and I must have caught the trailer or something (really). Justin Long will rule you all soon enough…

Well, before I hit on that oft-promised ending, let me say this: I am not done with this post yet. What that means is I was setting up for something at the start that I sorta never quite got to and still intend to but along the way this somehow became an actual movie review, for me at least, and I want to leave it that way.

And now for the ending. Loved it and hated it. Loved it because it was anti-Hollywood. You expect them to get back together, especially since they were so close and just missed. Nope, it was not to be I guess. It appears that several months pass and they have a chance meeting on the street. They have that awkward and not-awkward conversation and then go on their separate ways.

Hated it because, don’t tell anyone or I’ll kill you, I am a romantic. Yeah, I wanted them to get back together because they were so close and honestly, maybe the way that last scene played out, it was a possibility for the future. She looked back and smiled. He looked back and winked. Who knows with love, right?