HEARTBREAK KID, THE
Eddie Cantrow (Ben Stiller) is single and unable to commit to a relationship, despite pressure from his outspoken father Doc (Jerry Stiller) and best friend Mac (Rob Corddry). That is, until he meets beautiful, sexy blonde Lila (Malin Akerman), an environmental researcher who he impulsively marries, when Doc and Mac convince him this may be his last chance at love, marriage and happiness. But on their honeymoon in Mexico, as the newlyweds get to know each other and he sees a very different side of Lila, Eddie realizes he has made the biggest mistake of his life. At their honeymoon hideaway, Eddie meets and falls in love with the lovely, down-to-earth Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), who is holidaying with her family and has no idea Eddie is married.
Review by Louise Keller:
Back together for the first time since There's Something About Mary, both the Farrelly Brothers and Ben Stiller show welcome signs of ripening with age. Based on the 1972 film whose Neil Simon screenplay (based on a short story) was directed by the brilliant Elaine May, this remake (or update) is still coloured by Farrelly outrageousness, but has been harnessed by touches of restraint. There seem to be more emotional layers to Stiller and his Eddie displays deeper chasms of pain emanating from the wacky situations in which he finds himself. When his dream girl Lila (Malin Akerman) turns out to be an uninhibited sex-crazed loony with strange habits and ideas, Eddie is locked in honeymoon hell. There are umpteen opportunities for hilarity in this brassy, funny and wacky comedy in which the cherry is not always the piece de resistance.
'What's that?' Lila asks Eddie, when he gingerly suggests the missionary position, after a night-long session of Lila's choice of bizarre sex positions. It should have been the honeymoon of his dreams - at the exotic tropical Mexican resort with illuminated palms, crimson bougainvillea and a pool whose water is the colour of blue lapis. But as Lila turns from sweet pretty thing to a screeching, snoring, drinking, demanding schizo with a troubled past (with her great sense of comedic timing, Akerman is fabulous), Eddie turns to the non-complicated, lovely Miranda (Michelle Monaghan, appealing) and quickly recognises her as his dreamgirl.
There is lots of juicy 'business' in this comedy of errors, including a sub plot with a pair of precocious 12 year old twins, the joke-loving moustachioed Mexican Uncle Tito (Carlos Mencia), Miranda's aggressive cousin (Danny R. McBride) and a mariachi band that keeps popping up at the most inopportune times. Stiller's real-life dad Jerry Stiller is a scene stealer as Eddie's lusty father Doc ('You can tell a lot about a girl by her panties') and it is hard to erase the image of him sitting in a hot tub in Vegas sipping champagne with an overly endowed naked blonde. Never mind that the script goes helter skelter towards the end, I must admit I did have fun. And beyond its contagious, wacky humour, the film has a very sweet heart.
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HEARTBREAK KID, THE (MA)
CAST: Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan, Jerry Stiller, Malin Akerman, Danny McBride, Carlos Mencia, Rob Corddry, Polly Holliday, Stephanie Courtney, Ali Hillis, Kathy Lamkin, Nicol Paone, Joel Bryant
PRODUCER: Ted Field, Bradley Thomas
DIRECTOR: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
SCRIPT: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Scot Armstrong, Leslie Dixon, Kevin Barnett (short story A Change of Plan by Bruce Jay Friedman; 1972 screenplay by Neil Simon)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Matthew F. Leonetti
EDITOR: Alan Baumgarten, Sam Seig
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sydney J. Bartholomew jr
RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Pictures
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 22, 2007
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