Monday, 28 September 2020
The Heartbreak Kid
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Wednesday, 10 October 2007 00:00
When I say the title The Heartbreak Kid, I can almost see the blank expressions you readers might be giving me. Don’t feel bad – until last weekend I had never heard of it either. In a movie week that boasted the release of such anticipated titles as Into the Wild and The Jane Austen Book Club, I wonder why the only new releases Moncton gets are bargain basement offerings? The Heartbreak Kid opened opposite a low budget fantasy film called The Seeker. The choice was a tough one, but when it came down to it the comfy seats at Trinity Drive won out and I decided to check out the comedy.

When the Farrelly brothers burst onto the scene with There’s Something About Mary, they became famous for pushing the limits of taste. Their special brand of “funny-disgusting” became a trademark that many strove, and failed, to reproduce and an onslaught of “not-so-funny disgusting” movies ensued. The Heartbreak Kid was supposed to mark a “return to form” for the Farrelly’s, but instead they have unsuccessfully tried to duplicate their own success. There is nothing here to charm us; no kooky spontaneity; no classic moments to get people talking. In short The Heartbreak Kid is unlikable and unmemorable.

Ben Stiller plays Eddie, a forty-year-old commitment-phobic wallowing in despair about the marriage of his ex-girlfriend to another man. It’s his own fault of course, for not giving her the security she was looking for. Realizing his mistake, he vows not to repeat it. So when he meets a beautiful and charming girl named Lila (Malin Akerman) he takes the plunge and marries her after only a few weeks.

Once they take off on their honeymoon however he realizes he’s made a huge mistake. Her character morphs unnaturally from intelligent and sexy to moronic and scary. She becomes loud and crass, abuses him in bed and humiliates him in public. Of course to top things off he meets the actual girl of his dreams (Michelle Monaghan) and falls in love with her. Of course he behaves like an ass and begins lying to both girls while digging himself deeper. For a character that’s supposed to be the “nice guy” he really does a bang up job of being a jerk.

The gross site gags and potty humor elicited a few chuckles from the audience, but without likeable characters to pull it all together these antics simply fall flat. Ben’s real life dad Jerry Stiller is especially revolting as a trash talking, sex-addicted, misogynistic old man. Sorry Jerry, but that gag died with George Burns. I have to admit though that he delivers the funniest line in the movie when he comments: “Remember, you’re in the Bible belt. These people have guns!” It’s funny ‘cause it’s true.

Then there’s the trouble of a horribly unfunny and annoying character called Uncle Tito (Carlos Mencia). Tito works at a resort and is basically a composite of every ignorant Mexican stereotype an American mind can come up with.

Overall, this movie comes across as a blank rehashing of old stereotypes and recycled jokes. But what more could I expect from a movie that lists “Donkey Fluffer” among the credits? Didn’t we already cover that gag in Clerks 2? I give The Heartbreak Kid 2 out of 10 stars.