Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Heartbreak Kid

Ben Stiller has a history of making extremely funny movies. The Meet the Parents franchise presented us with 2 of the funniest movies of the last decade as did There's Something About Mary (1998). On the other hand, he has also participated in the less spectacularly received Mystery Men (1999) and Zoolander (2001).

The Heartbreak Kid (2007) will be closer to one of the latter. There are some screamingly hilarious scenes...but they are too few and far between. While waiting for the laughs we are subjected to some excruciatingly painful scenes.

Heartbreak follows the story of (theoretically) lovable loser Eddie Cantrow (Ben Stiller), a guy who never met a commitment he wasn't afraid of. When his best friend Mac (Rob Corddry) mocks him does his dad Doc (Jerry Stiller), he jumps at the chance for a relationship with Lila (Malin Akerman).

After a 6 week courtship flies by in a montage of them kissing and ignoring everything going on around them, they marry and take off for Mexico. On the trip Lila is bright and full of life. She sings every song that comes on the radio as Eddie gets more and more irritated by her cheerfulness.

He is also turned off by her aggressive and wild sexuality when they get a motel room.

In fact, pretty much everything about her starts to irritate him. And some of his actions and words start to irritate her. It comes to a head when he tries to get her to put on sunblock instead of mineral oil. She burns extremely badly which allows him to have a series of solo adventures involving Miranda (Michelle Monaghen) and her family.

He and Miranda fall madly in love. Complications arise. She goes home, he gets divorced, he turns into a stalker, he moves on, she comes to find him for the big surprise twist at the end.

It is a funny premise (and is a remake of Charles Grodin's 1972 The Heartbreak Kid) with room for some interesting social commentary that falls apart. Too much of the comedy comes from hearing Jerry Stiller use horrific terms for women and their "uses" and too little from actually funny stuff. The talents of Stiller, Carlos Mencia as Uncle Tito, and everyone else in the cast are wasted.

Eddie and Miranda never seem like they belong together and Lila is actually a sympathetic character at times.

This movie could have been epically hilarious. As is, it is pretty much a waste of popcorn eating time.

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