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The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
Dreamworks Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 12/26/2007
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/20/2007
In 1998, I attended a sneak preview (a general audience sneak preview, not a test screening) of a new film called There's Something About Mary. I knew very little about the movie, save for the trailer which I'd seen. What transpired was an evening where I laughed more than I ever had in a theater. (Except for maybe Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie.) The film's opening made it seem like a fairly straight-forward comedy, but I quickly learned that the movie was going for broke and that it would go to any lengths to surprise the audience with a joke. The makers of that film, The Farrelly Brothers, have gone on to projects which were similar but never quite had the outrageous nature of There's Something About Mary. Their latest project, The Heartbreak Kid, aims to take them back to their outlandish roots.
Ben Stiller stars in The Heartbreak Kid as Eddie Cantro, a 40 year old bachelor who owns a sporting goods store in San Francisco. After attending the wedding of his ex-girlfriend (who turns out to be a huge mistake), and talking with his father, Doc (Jerry Stiller), who questions Eddie's lack of sexual conquests, and his best friend Mac (Rob Corddry), who is unhappily married, Eddie decides that he needs to have a serious relationship. While walking home one day, Eddie attempts to stop a purse-snatcher and meets the victim, Lila (Malin Akerman). They begin to date and Eddie finds himself enchanted by this beautiful and energetic woman. Lila announces that her employer is moving her to Rotterdam and that she wouldn't have to go if she were married, so Eddie suggests that they take the plunge. So, after six weeks together, Eddie and Lila are wed.
They decide to honeymoon in Cabo, Mexico. While traveling there, Eddie begins to notice some unusual behavior and comments from Lila. Once they arrive at the resort, these occurrences continue, and Eddie soon begins to realize that he's married a woman that he knows nothing about. While wandering near the pool, Eddie meets Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), a woman who is vacationing with her family. They immediately hit it off and begin to spend time together. As Lila's erratic behavior keeps her confined to the honeymoon suite, Eddie becomes attached to Miranda and her family...somehow failing to mention the fact that he's married. After just a few days of marriage, could Eddie leave Lila for Miranda.
The Heartbreak Kid is a remake of a 1972 film of the same name which was written by Neil Simon and starred Charles Grodin in the lead role. I haven't seen this film, but after reading descriptions of it, it sounds as if only the basic premise -- a man falls in love with another woman on his honeymoon -- is the same. As far as I can tell, The Farrelly Brothers have taken this older film and placed their trademark brand of humor on it. So, essentially we have a film with a fairly straight-forward romantic-comedy plot which is then peppered with unusual characters and outlandish situations, very much like There's Something About Mary.
Just to set the record straight, The Heartbreak Kid is no There's Something About Mary. Nearly a decade later, so many films have copied The Farrelly Brothers' landmark comedy that it would be very hard to make any film in that same vein and have it seem fresh and original. But, that's not to say that The Heartbreak Kid isn't a fun comedy, and it certainly shows The Farrelly's doing what they do best. Few filmmakers working today can do comedy which is as surprising or shock as these brothers do. They are the masters at setting up certain expectations in the audience and then knocking them down. The movie opens with some funny lines (most from Rob Corddry) and we then get some nice physical comedy. But, once the scene shifts to Mexico, the movie begins to go for broke and the Farrelly's penchant for jokes involving bodily functions comes out, as does their love for any situation which will make Ben Stiller's character incredibly uncomfortable. Few would label The Heartbreak Kid a comedy classic, but there were some scenes in this film which had me in tears. And every time that I thought the film had reached it's limit, it went a bit further. The scene in which Miranda falls in the water will stay with anyone who sees this movie.
My only problem with The Heartbreak Kid was the overall tone of the film. Eddie is supposed to be the hero of the film and the movie's connection with the audience. And yet, he's put in a position where he wants to cheat on his new wife. Despite the fact that we like Miranda much more than Lila, any movie which asks the audience to cheer for adultery won't sit well with some viewers. And Eddie's actions in the last act of the movie cause that connection with the audience to dwindle somewhat.
So, The Heartbreak Kid isn't perfect. Actually, it's far from it. But, the bottom line is, it's funny. I like to think that I've got a good sense of humor and most comedies that I see make me laugh at least once. However, few kick me in the head with their outlandish jokes, and it's that tenacity that helped The Heartbreak Kid to win me over.
The Heartbreak Kid ties the knot on DVD courtesy of Dreamworks Home Entertainment. The movie has come to DVD in two separate releases, one full-frame and the other widescreen. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version was viewed. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image looks good, as it shows very little grain and no defects from the source material. The transfer is sharp and clear, and the colors look very good. The exterior shots in Mexico look especially nice, as they combine a nice depth of field with the shimmering blue water. I did note some mild artifacting at times. The DVD has a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The crowd scenes provide some good stereo and surround effects, and the track never misses a chance to add a subwoofer "thump" to a pratfall.
The Heartbreak Kid DVD carries quite a few bonus features. We start with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from The Farrelly Brothers. The two speak at length, jumping around from topic to topic. (This is truly a scene-specific commentary as they react to what is on-screen.) They talk about their actors, the extras (of course), and the locations. They don't say much about the story and even less about the technical aspects of the film. "The Farrelly Brothers in the French Tradition" (17 minutes) features a series of in-depth interviews with the Farrellys where they talk about how they got into movies, how they write movies, their attitude on the set, and their decision to make The Heartbreak Kid. "Ben & Jerry" (5 minutes) has comments from Ben and Jerry Stiller on what it was like to work together. We get footage from an on-set costume party in "Heartbreak Halloween" (3 minutes). "The Egg Toss" (8 minutes) shows how the crew bonded by playing an egg tossing game. The DVD has a 4-minute GAG REEL. There are 6 DELETED SCENES which run about 7 minutes. Most of these are short and don't offer anything, but the longest introduces a plot element which would have changed the mid-section of the film.
On December 16, 2008, Paramount Home Entertainment released The Heartbreak Kid on Blu-ray Disc. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 37 Mbps. The image here is remarkably sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source material. The picture has a great amount of depth and the exterior, daytime shots show a very good separation between the foreground and background. The detail is also notably good, and we can see every boil on Lila's face. The bright, pastel colors of the resort look fantastic and the image is never overly bright. The Disc offers a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.9 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are good, most notably the noises around the characters at the resort. These effects are nicely detailed and show good stereo separation. The in-film music sounds especially good, making the "drive to Cabo" scene that much more enjoyable. However, despite the fact that the film doesn't offer many opportunities for it, surround sound is sorely lacking here. It is far too subtle and has no impact on the viewing experience. The same goes for subwoofer effects.
The Heatbreak Kid Blu-ray Disc contains all of the extras found on the DVD. In addition, this release offers the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the movie.
Review Copyright 2007-2008 by Mike Long