Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word

I was really expecting a very bad romantic comedy. That’s the vibe I got from “The Break-Up.” But to my big surprise, the film is quite fine. As the title reveals, the movie is about a couple who breaks up. Brooke (the beautiful Jennifer Aniston) feels she’s not being appreciated, while Gary (Vince Vaughn) is not satisfied with compromises. Neither is able the say the hardest word in the English language: sorry. For the love of George W. Bush, I’ll even add that the word is so un-American.

Even if Brooke and Gary are technically broken up, it’s clear that they still care for each other. The movie contrives to give them a chance by making them still live together. They’re too stubborn to surrender the nice condo they share. At first, they play the waiting game. They stand their ground and drive the other person into misery, which hopefully will lead to an apologetic move. But as they try to push each other’s buttons, the more damage they inflict on the situation. Nobody seems to budge towards a reconciliation.

I can tell “The Break-Up” is admirably built from experience. It’s quite bold and astute to play that long-standing man vs. woman battle in a realistic manner. I almost wanted to turn away because I tend to not get involved when there’s fighting. But I think watching it, seeing everything unfold on screen, makes you see the big picture of everything. It’s a lot to take in, but I gained more perspective on the whole thing. The film fairly takes a shot on both sides. It mocks a woman’s impossible desire for a man to read her mind. Because you know, soul mates do that, right? They read each other’s mind. And then they cut each other’s tongue and live happily ever after. Ha. Frankly, I think men would love to have this mind reading power, but alas, it’s impossible. It’s up to the woman to speak up, because that’s actually possible. On the opposite corner, the film derides a man’s arrogance. Oh, that cocky dream that he can sweet talk his lady into anything. The fast-talking Vince Vaughn is so perfect for this. I couldn’t imagine anybody else being a charismatic asshole. And yet, as bad as it seems, a person like that can produce awe in other people. Isn’t some kind of superpower to be treated as an exception to the rule? So there you go, both man and woman are both hanging adamantly to their fantasies. They don’t realize reality is the real villain and not each other.

I know that the movie was advertised as some kind of ha-ha entertainment. When you see Vince Vaughn, you automatically judge the movie to be a comedy. Yes, the movie has hilarious moments but eventually “The Break-Up” is an uncomfortable experience. I don’t really deem it as an entertainment. It’s uneasy to recognize yourself and/or friends on this movie. And yet, if you accept the challenge and see the big picture of the picture, you might find the film beneficial as a learning experience. Plus, I think the film warrants a viewing because Aniston and Vaughn are both so strong in their range from comedy to drama. So, if you happen to watch the movie after reading this, and it turns out you didn’t get enough laughs and/or knowledge as you’d hope, well… I’m… I’m… s-sorry. There I said it. Peace out.

Grade: A-

Jennifer Aniston, Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Bateman, Cole Hauser, Judy Davis, Justin Long, and Vincent D’Onofrio
Screenplay by
Jeremy Garelick
Jay Lavender
Directed by
Peyton Reed
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some nudity and language