The Break-Up

Bomb Rating: 

Somebody is going to have to prove to me that Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn dating in real life is not some kind of publicity stunt. It's just way too far-fetched to believe that precisely what this movie requires -- for the audience to buy that Aniston would date somebody like Vaughn -- is actually happening. It's too convenient that this real-life occurrence negates what would otherwise be a powerful, if not crippling, criticism of the film. Fortunately, Mr. Cranky is here to cite it anyway.

I don't buy -- in the film or in real life -- that Brooke Meyers (Aniston), an educated, art gallery manager, would fall for an obnoxious jackass like Gary (Vince Vaughn), who spends his days atop a Chicago tour bus making bad jokes and explaining the historical significance of different buildings. When he comes home, Gary lies on the couch, watches sports highlights and plays video games. This basic difference in lifestyle results in Brooke coming completely unglued when Gary gets uppity about helping with the dishes. She drops him faster than Tom Cruise dropping fatherhood during a Mission Impossible publicity junket.

The thing is, Brooke doesn't necessarily break up with Gary because she doesn't love him. She breaks up with him just to make a point. She just wants to be appreciated, noticed and thanked. She calls her friend, Addie (Joey Lauren Adams), and they hatch plans to make him jealous. There's ample opportunity as Brooke and Gary live in the same condo, waiting for it to sell so they can part ways.

However, as we all know, all Aniston has to do is take a step out onto a public street and men will line up for miles to notice and appreciate her. I bet if she wanted to, Aniston could organize cock fights involving real human men where the winner got the opportunity to grovel at her feet. However, in male-dominated Hollywood, Aniston's character is made to feel needy, unstable and unworthy.

I don't really consider either Aniston or Vaughn real actors, because their off-camera antics factor in to every role they play. They're part of a larger group of stars whose public personalities are inseparable from their "acting." As a result, I spent most of the film distracted by the baffling question of how Aniston could go from dating Brad Pitt to dating Vince Vaughn without the aid of a blindfold and a healthy supply of anti-nausea medication. That's got to be like trading in her Porsche for a Yugo, her filet mignon for roadkill. I suppose things could be even less believable and she could be co-starring with Tom Arnold, but there's stretching believability and then there's warping the universe.

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