Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Heartbreak Kid – Movie Review

Finding someone worthy - of making The Great Vow that is the marriage vow - that’s the trick

The New York Times calls it a 'lame, long, ugly joke of a movie'. The joke's on them. It's a fabulously funny flick, although some of it is in shockingly bad taste.

Count on Ben Stiller and the Farrelly Brothers (There's Something About Mary, Shallow Hal, Kingpin) to be involved in the show and tell for this outlandish but hilarious story. If you need a pick-me-upper, The Heartbreak Kid does not disappoint. It really does the job of handing out those deep belly, laugh out loud tickles, and maybe it does so because it slides so frequently across that line (on the way to opposite extremes of traditional decency) that some of us conventionally walk.

The Farrelly Brothers pump up the volume on what is probable, and then add their version of toilet humor – I’d dub it porno humor – to their captivating plot. There are some surprisingly daring nude shots, which made me wonder, for a few split seconds, if I was suddenly watching a blue movie, with Ben Stiller’s face chopped out and attached to a gyrating naked male torso.

But it’s not a bad story, and the characters, especially the Uncle Tito (Carlos Mencia) - the hotel’s Mexican sleazebag with the moustache, Stiller’s spineless brother Mac (Rob Corddry) and his his love interest’s – Miranda’s – baseball wielding cousin Michael (Joel Bryant) are spot on. Stiller’s blonde wife Lila (Malin Akerman) sounds a lot like Cameron Diaz, and she does transition to the ditz like a pro. The jellyfish scene will cause most people to do a huge double take. Good luck with that. Miranda (Michelle Monaghan) plays the attractive brunette who temps the luckless Eddie Cantrow (Stiller) on his honeymoon nogal. Is Eddie's surname a play on the words 'can't row' - as in, 'can't face confrontations'? Monaghan does her bit to charm, playing the comparative likable ‘good girl’ wonderfully well.

Subplots include a brilliant series of parodied attempts at crossing illegally into America and a pair of young brats who add elements of havoc at opportune moments. There’s a lot more besides.

I suppose what the movies message is that love is going to make a mess of your life, however carefully you approach it or try to insulate or insure yourself. Love will bring you warm and fuzzy feelings, it will rescue and restore important parts of you, but it will also wrench out your guts, vomit on them until you’re fully humiliated and embarrassed. Against this background we need to open ourselves, and move courageously forward, still able to be embraced for who we are, and to outward looking, sharing and embracing an important other .

The twist at the movies’ end is perhaps the most realistic moment of all. I felt it. At some point we have to realize that we have to choose between making excuses and making a commitment.

NVDL rating: 8/10

The Times Tomatometer gives this movie a 3/10 rating. I guess your enjoyment of this flick depends on whether your a Stiffler (as in 'Dude, Where's My Car?') or a Stickler (as in 'Stick in the Mud').

Memorable quote:

Doc: So, what's new Eddie? Anything exciting?
Eddie Cantrow: Ah, yeah, we just got those new Nike Sasquatch drivers in the store, so that's been kind of cool.
Doc: Let me rephrase the question. You been crushin' any pussy?

The next five movies on my list are:
I am The Legend
3:10 to Yuma
The Hills Have Eyes
The 11th Hour

No comments: