THE HEARTBREAK KID (2007)
A film review by David N. Butterworth
Copyright 2007 David N. Butterworth
**1/2 (out of ****)
There're some things about Lila (Malin Akerman) that Eddie Cantrow
(Ben Stiller) wished he'd known a lot sooner.
Like her deviated septum, which causes apple juice, fajitas, and
other foreign objects to spontaneously spew forth from her nostrils
during mealtimes. Or the fact that her environmental research position
doesn't exactly pay (not all that well but period!). Or maybe it's
simply her singing, a one-woman bad karaoke act on the *entire* drive
down to Mexico (where Lila and Eddie are headed for their honeymoon
following a whirlwind San Francisco romance).
But one thing Eddie does know is that he's made a mistake. A big
one--Lila is a living nightmare. So partly as an escape he strikes up a
flirtation with the shapely, single Miranda ("Mission: Impossible III"'s
Michelle Monaghan), a lacrosse coach from Oxford, Mississippi who's
vacationing with her oddball relatives.
Manic misunderstandings mainly materialize.
"The Heartbreak Kid" is the Farrelly Brothers' redo of the hit 1972
Neil Simon comedy that starred Charles Grodin and Cybill Shepherd.
Since Bobby and Peter Farrelly are involved you can expect quite a bit
more bodily orifice humor than in Elaine May's original film--the
creators of "Dumb & Dumber," "Kingpin," and "There's Something About
Mary" seem to have settled on the nose as the orifice of choice this
time around (Eddie gets a jalapeño stuffed up his later in the film,
although the topper sight gag would appear to involve a jellyfish and
the call of nature--no noses there).
Like most Farrelly flicks, "The Heartbreak Kid" is a hit and miss
affair, pretty darned hilarious at times, crass and offensive most other
times (and to mix things up a bit sporadically amusing in its
vulgarity). What makes this "'Kid" work, largely, is its casting.
Nobody plays put upon quite as convincingly as Ben Stiller and boy is he
put upon here, from being harassed by his Dad (Jerry Stiller, looking a
little the worst for wear), nagged at by his best friend Mac (Rob
Corrdry), who plants the initial seed that Eddie might not want to wait
forever to get hitched, and constantly reminded by Lila that he's in
this for 40, 50 years (Eddie's response to her scary "I love you" is
As Lila, the game Akerman gives it her all; she's not afraid to
embarrass herself into the process. Pratfalls, rough sex, blistering
sunburn--Akerman takes it on the chin and then some. Some of the film's
funniest scenes are a direct result of Stiller's character learning some
new gem about his loco lover.
Carlos Mencia (concierge Uncle Tito), Danny R. McBride (playing
Miranda's edgy cousin Martin), and Michael and Nicholas Kromka (as a
pair of obnoxious twins) augment the film's fine supporting cast but
it's Stiller and Akerman's show pretty much all the way (Monaghan has
little more to do than play cute).
Sweeter than "Me, Myself & Irene" yet cruder than "Fever Pitch,"
"The Heartbreak Kid" is middle ground Farrelly Bros. And that's not
necessarily a bad thing.
David N. Butterworth
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