Friday, November 30, 2007

The Heartbreak Kid

Who's THE Man?

I'm a fan of Ben Stiller and his brand of comedy, and I rate his insanely good looking (heh) Derek Zoolander as one of my contemporary favourites, alongside his Dodgeball opposite Vince Vaughn, and his Meet The Parents/Fockers combo. But perhaps the most memorable and highly rated laughfest will be his starring in the Farrelly Brothers' There's Something About Mary, with Matt Dillon and Cameron Diaz as the ditzy blonde the two guys are trying to go after.

The Heartbreak Kid brings Stiller back to the Farrelly Brothers' fold, joining forces again to bring in the laughs in a situation that unmarried guys my age fear. While we may be nonchalant about staying single and enjoying the status to sow our wild oats, there's always this nagging thought about what would happen when we seem to have met that special someone who could be just the very person to spend the rest of our life with. Thinking about "forever", that it's a long time, make us go into weighing in the pros and the cons of giving up our freedom, and we just want to be darn sure (and suicidal) to be giving up our singlehood.

And for forty year old Eddie (Stiller), he shares the same sentiments, but on the advise of best buddy Mac (Rob Corddry), who himself is a hen-pecked husband, and Casanova dad Doc (Jerry Stiller, Ben's real father), he marries Lila (Malin Akerman), the blonde akin to Cameron Diaz's Mary in the earlier Farrelly-Stiller collaboration, on a whim after six weeks of courtship. While on the surface, she's physically da bomb, and might seem all nice and dandy inside, little does Eddie know the nightmare is about to begin, as he discovers (say what?) they share very little interests, she's the archetypal dumb blonde always made fun of in blonde jokes, and she's a sexual nymph who likes it very rough (ok, so some of us out there might take this as a plus point).

If there's a moral to the story, that will be to consider very carefully, and to take your time before you commit to that matrimonial vow. You might call me old-fashioned, but I believe that once you walk down that aisle, you'll just have to stick with the woman you marry, for better or worse, and learn to accept her faults. After all, nobody's perfect. But this is a movie, so if anyone is holding onto such real-world ideal notions, then you'll probably not have a good time, and start to frown at every Eddie antic at his horror of discovery, and worse, when he starts to develop feelings for Miranda (Michelle Monaghan, last seen on the big screen playing Ethan Hunt's wife in M:I:III), an equally attractive woman who probably shares more of the same interests as Eddie, whom he met while on honeymoon.

Wait a minute, cheating on your wife during honeymoon? Yes, which is why the conservatives out there will leave with a bad aftertaste. But for the rest of us, it examines the type of dilemma for someone having second thoughts (after all, these are fertile grounds for affairs). The narrative starts to junk the comedy and move into romance-drama gears, but lest you forget this is still a Farrelly Brothers' movie, their trademark sexually vulgar scenes and jokes come and surprise you when you least expect. Body parts (there's this scene involving bodily fluids which you just have to see to believe the insane audacity of it all) and orifices are no longer sacred. Comedy of errors are standard fare, as are the increasing inserts of gay jokes whenever possible. However most jokes were still on Lila, and plenty of that were already included in the trailer, so if you haven't watched it, don't.

As a comedy, The Heartbreak Kid somehow didn't live up to its promise. Sure it has its moments, but they were few and far between, and in reality, you'll probably enjoy the Eddie-Miranda romantic scenes (and those with her family) a lot more than you would the Eddie-Lila comedic scenes. Does it have an ending and resolution to Eddie's dilemma of which girl to choose? Yes, but it turned out to be extremely clunky and unfunny (try as it would want to), dragging out the last act unnecessarily to put this movie close to a two hour runtime. It's still a comedy after all, so don't expect a very powerful and emotional close ala dramatic fare like Castaway, which it tried to ape, with a comedic slant of course.

Deinitely not one of Stiler's, or the Farrelly Brother's best work to date. Stay tuned for the cameo appearance of one prominent TV actress at the close, and stay tuned during and after the end credits. There's a scene involving Lila, which probably isn't in very good taste, showing how she managed to get satisfied, and the other bringing you back to 1975 to confirm a certain event which was mentioned in passing.

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