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STUDIO: Dreamworks Video
RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes
- Commentary by the Farrelly Bros.
- The Farrelly Bros. in the French Tradition featurette
- Ben & Jerry featurette
- Heartbreak Halloween featurette
- The Egg Toss featurette
- Gag reel
- Deleted scenes
- Easter egg
Finally, that Shawn Michaels biopic we’ve all been waiting for…
Ben Stiller, Malin Akerman, Michelle Monaghan, Jerry Stiller.
"Uh, Malin, just for my own satisfaction, that is a prop bush, right…"
Life-long bachelor and lonely shmoe Eddie Cantrow (Stiller, of the Ben variety) is down in the dumps about not having found the woman with whom to spend the rest of his life. Making things worse is that he attends the wedding of his former girlfriend of five years, who has moved on to greener pastures. And further adding to the angst is his father (Stiller, of the Jerry variety) who tells him that since he’s a 40-year-old single guy, he’s missing out on the best part of being a bachelor by not "crushing" all the poon he can get his hands on. So when Eddie meets seemingly the perfect girl in Lila (Akerman), who’s beautiful, fun and seemingly normal, it only takes Eddie six weeks to pop the question. But on the honeymoon roadtrip to Cabo, Eddie finds out that seemingly normal isn’t at all what it seems as his new bride is a Grade-A nutbag with a deviated septum that emits food on a regular basis, a former coke habit, a mountain of debt, and a penchant for rough sex. So when Eddie actually does meet the perfect girl in Miranda (Monaghan), his honeymoon becomes an unexpected first date.
"Okay dad, you know this is officially like the 21st project we’ve worked on together."
"So, don’t you think you’d be better in a nursing home or something…?"
I haven’t seen a Farrelly Bros. movie since the simply dreadful Me, Myself and Irene, and I haven’t seen a Farrelly Bros. movie I liked since their epically hilarious classic, There’s Something About Mary. Since those two, there’ve been several movies they’ve made that have gotten various levels of acclaim, but somehow I’ve managed to avoid them all. From the press I was initially getting on Heartbreak Kid, I was actually thinking that maybe the directing sibs had made a true return to form since Shallow Hal, Stuck on You and Fever Pitch didn’t get anywhere near the bar that Mary set a decade ago. Then of course there’s Ben Stiller, who can be delightfully campy in films like Dodgeball or Starsky and Hutch, the latter of which may not have been all that great, but I did like Stiller in it regardless. Stiller has proven beyond a doubt that he’s a very capable triple threat in acting / directing / writing, but when it comes to the first of those "slashes", he can frequently take such safe and cookie cutter (his personally designed cookie cutter to be sure but still a cookie cutter) roles as the likeable loser who eventually becomes exasperated by either the girl he chooses or the situation that chooses him. He’s done it time and again recently in films like Duplex, Along Came Polly, and Meet The Parents / Fockers, and now with Heartbreak Kid.
"Hey look, don’t blame me…I told you this would happen if you watched Duplex and Meet the Fockers back to back…"
Since Kid is the first reteaming of the Farrellys and Stiller since Mary, comparisons are inevitably going to be made (especially by me since that’s the whole point of this paragraph). And unfortunately, Kid comes up far short in nearly every measurable criteria. First of all, the gross out factor and laugh-out-loud factor squarely favors Mary. Kid is a much safer, middle-of-the-road comedy and, while there are a couple of genuinely funny scenes, it’s not the laugh-riot, balls-to-the-wall stupidly insane fest that Mary was. And the objects of affection, namely Diaz as Mary and Monaghan as Miranda, is also a no-contest as well. Mary was basically every guy’s dream: a sports-loving hot chick who’s not afraid to get down, wheras Miranda is merely a likeable girl who is mostly elevated in terms of desirability because the only other option is Eddie’s looney toon wife. Now this isn’t a discredit aimed at Monaghan, who has more than proved her desirability in MI:III (yeah, I could be pressed to take an electric shock to the head for some o’ that) and supposedly is also quite good in Gone Baby Gone. It’s just that here, it’s not that Miranda is so spectacularly wonderful, she’s just not a deviated-septumed, endlessly karaoki-ing to the car stereo former crackwhore with a bad sunburn and a liking for the gangsta coitus.
Stiller: "Damn, I’m sorry, uh can we cut? I’m not feeling this."
Peter Farrelly: "Is there a problem, Ben?"
"Yeah, uh, how come I’m not that guy right now…?
I think that Malin Akerman could be someone to watch, espcially since she’s secured herself a gig in the hotly anticipated Watchmen flick. She’s definitely on her way as she’s graduated from syndicated action and sci-fi drama like Earth: Final Conflict, Relic Hunter, Witchblade and *shudder* Doc. Plus, she’s got a great body and isn’t afraid to show it to us. However, her character was way underwritten IMHO. If you’re going to have this girl be so friggin’ horrendous that a guy is going to dump her on his honeymoon, then go all out. But alas that’s not the case as the worst thing about her is that she evacuates food out of her nose sometimes, freaks out about a sunburn and used to make with the nose candy. And there is the question of a certain bush, but you’d have to see that to know about it. I think there are definitely worse things than having a chick you’re horizontal with say "F me like a black guy!!" On the other hand, Jerry Stiller is Jerry Stiller, and lately I’m not sure if he’s even portraying someone other than himself. He’s a pussy crushing, very understated version of Frank Costanzo for the most part. Carlos Mencia has a small role that isn’t going to do much to change your mind about him if you’re not a fan.
On its own merits, The Heartbreak Kid is fine, I suppose. Not great, not raucous, but fine. It’s just that as far as Stiller is concerned, I’ve seen this same character half a dozen times before and I’m really looking for him to expand a bit more. I want a couple more outings like Permanent Midnight, instead I’m getting Night at the Museum 2 and doubtless Meet the Focking Baby is far behind. As for the Farrellys, it’s looking so far like they’re never going to top There’s Something About Mary, Kingpin or Dumb and Dumber, all comedy classics to be sure. And that’s a sobering fact to possibly have peaked so early in one’s career. I’d also like to see them try a different thing soon. Between the two of them, certainly there’s got to be an action script, or even a raucous sci-fier in there somewhere. Or if they decide to stick to comedy, then go back, watch what you did in your best films when you were doin’ it and doin’ it and doin’ it well and try to capture that again. ‘Cause it turns out that The Heartbreak Kid is quite aptly named….
"So what do you think? Do I have a chance for that Justin Timberlake biopic…?"
The film does look good and some of the shots from (I’m assuming Mexico) are quite nice. Sound is also fine in English 5.1 Surround, with optional French and Spanish tracks, as well as a commentary track by the Brothers Farrelly. Subtitles are English, Francais, Espanol. In addition to the commentary, there’s several other features, including The Farrelly Bros. in the French Tradition, which is a 16-minute behind-the-scenes with talking head pieces. Ben & Jerry is a five minute piece on the Stillers; Heartbreak Halloween is a three-minute piece on the crew dressing up in costumes when shooting on Halloween. Peter Farrelly was a Steeltown girl on a Saturday night, and I’ll leave it at that. The Egg Toss is an eight minute featurette on an egg toss the cast and crew participated in. There’s also a four-minute gag reel and seven minutes of deleted scenes. A jellyfish easter egg that reveals Peter Farrelly’s best practical joke ever rounds out the offerings.