Peyton Reed Written by: Jeremy Garelick (screenplay), Jay Lavender (screenplay), Vince Vaughn (story) Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, Joey Lauren Adams, Cole Hauser, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Judy Davis, Justin Long, John Michael Higgins, Vincent D'Onofrio Distributed by Universal Pictures Film was released June 2nd, 2006 Review by Matt Holmes

rating: 3.5

The Break-Up is one of most uncomfortable romantic comedies I've seen in a long while. For the most part it's a deconstruction of an unhappy relationship that is sinking as quick as the Titanic after hitting that damn iceberg. It's clear from the beginning of the picture that the moment to disambark has come and the couple are genuinely at the point of no return. Which makes it an excurringtly difficult film to watch. This is a drama that takes place some years after the end of the usual movie in the rom-com genre where things haven't quite turned out as rosy as they hoped. There's little love here, the couple aren't right for each other and the only happiness they shall both recieve at the end of the day is when they break-up. No matter how Universal and the publicty guys try and promote this as being a red hot chemistry date movie that is the Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn version of the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie sex fest that was Mr. and Mrs. Smith... this is not a laugh a minute ride. Instead it's got that "peek inside people's lives" feeling of Wife Swap and is probably at times too realistic but it is so effective in making you feel for the characters, that you really get some emotional payoffs towards the film's climax. Vince Vaughn has never been better as the guy who just wants to relax on the couch watching the game or chilling with his Playstation after spending the whole day at work - the last thing on his mind is housework. Jennifer Aniston is the girlfriend who is sick of being unappreciated, too often ignored and just wants Vaughn to "want to do the dishes" and not succom to doing them after heavy shouting. But it's clear they are a couple of opposites. Vaughn isn't just being lazy or purposefully annoying by wanting to do the dishes - that's just his nature. He isn't planning on adding a pool table to the apartment because he knows he will piss his girlfriend off, that's just what he wants to do. There will be no sacrifices here... they need to end the relationship and they do. The supporting roles in the movie are good, especially Jon Favreau's funny but weird character of Vaughn's best friend "Johnny O" but his advice is not something I would take to the bank. And neither would I listen to Aniston's best pal Joey Lauren Adams who also spectacularly gives out the wrong signals of what should be done to save a relationship. John Michael Higgins totally steals all the laughs with the two funniest scenes of the movie, one involving his singing group "The Tone Rangers" but the movie probably suffers a little with these scenes that turn it into a little of a slapstick venture. Still, I really like what this movie is doing. The movies I continuously avoid watching are mindless comedies such as the upcoming Me, You and Dupree and i'm so glad this movie didn't take this route and instead went in an entirely different direction. The result is that The Break-Up isn't a comedy, and is instead closer to being a really hard to watch drama. Similar to Curtis Hanson's brilliant movie last year In Her Shoes, I would never have believed that I would have come out of the cinema actually liking this type of the movie - though it's really not recommended for those having a hard time in their relationship.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.