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PCR # 323  (Vol. 7, No. 22)  This edition is for the week of May 29--June 4, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Break Up"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Two stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, Jon Favreau, Joey Lauren Adams and John Michael Higgins
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 53 mins

When is a romantic comedy not a romantic comedy? When the romance ends. And despite a beginning where the main characters meet "cute," "The Break Up" may go down with "Fatal Attraction" as the worst "date" movie of all time.

The film opens at Wrigley Field (I will say that the city of Chicago has rarely looked this good on screen) where Gary (Vaughn) and his friend, Johnny (Favreau) are enjoying a Cubs game. Noticing the very pretty Brooke (Aniston) in the same row, Gary buys her a hot dog. Two years later they are living in a beautiful condo and seem to be the picture of happiness. However, appearances are not what they seem and, before you know it, the two are at each other's throats like pit bulls. And boy are they vicious!

Fans of both Vaughn and Aniston will both be surprised by this film. It's being advertised as a romantic comedy, but when these two end it their shouting matches rival anything Liz Taylor and Richard Burton went through in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" And that's the downfall of the film. These aren't good natured barbs. These people are downright nasty to each other, making you wonder how they even got this far. Gary wants to assert himself so he buys a pool table. Brooke want's to show him who's boss and tosses his clothes while blasting Alanis Morisette on the stereo. It's really a lot of back and forth that leaves the audience dizzy.

That's not to say that there aren't some truly fun moments. The supporting cast does an excellent job, with special mention to John Michael Higgins as Brooke's brother, Richard. Richard is part of an acapella group called "The Tone Rangers," and can spontaneously break out in song! There is also a great bit where Brooke receives some advice from her art gallery owning boss (Judy Davis, apparently channeling Judy Garland, circa 1964). Told to receive a hot wax treatment known as the "Telly Savalas," Aniston struts her stuff around the room to the tune of Savalas' song, "Who Loves You, Baby." I found this doubly funny since the late Kojak himself was Aniston's real life godfather. Also enjoyable was seeing 35 year old Peter Billingsley (Ralphie in "A Christmas Story") back on the big screen.

"The Break Up" is a film that doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. The script leaves a lot of things up in the air, including what appears to be a tacked-on ending that steals almost directly from a great Chicago set film about love and loss, "About Last Night." On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "The Break Up"  Two stars

This week's movie review of "The Break Up" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.