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PCR #393 (Vol. 8, No. 40) This edition is for the week of October 1--7, 2007.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Heartbreak Kid"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"The Heartbreak Kid"  by Mike Smith
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DVD Review: "The Dick Tracy Show, Volume 1"  by ED Tucker
Conquering Thrush .... Pay Up .... Passing On .... Gee Wally .... .... .... .... .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 29: Daniel J. Travanti  by Mike Smith
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Starring: Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan, Malin Akerman and Jerry Stiller
Directed by: Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 43 mins

In recent years, the outrageous “R” rated comedy has returned in a big way. Films like “Wedding Crashers,” “The 40-Year Old Virgin” and this years’ “Knocked Up” have gone the extra mile to keep the laughs going while walking the tightrope between hilariously great and outrageously bad. It’s been ten years since the Farrelly brothers featured Cameron Diaz and some wayward hair gel in “There’s Something About Mary.” Now, a decade later, the boys go top themselves with their update of the 1973 comedy “The Heartbreak Kid.”

The 1973 version was written by Neil Simon and based on a short story by author Bruce Jay Friedman. It starred a very young Charles Grodin and and even younger Cybill Shepherd. The new version finds Ben Stiller (finally showing his age on screen) as Edward, a 40-year-old man who won’t commit. In fact, we meet Edward as he attends the wedding of one of his former girlfriends who, after a five year engagement, moved on to someone who would pop the question. Edward is constantly convinced marriage is a great thing by his friend Mac (Rob Corddry), who despite his claims of happiness has the Wicked Witch’s theme from “The Wizard of Oz” as his wife’s cell phone ring tone. One afternoon Edward happens on an attempted mugging and meets the intended victim, Lila (Akerman). Soon they are inseparable, though they both agree not to rush into sex. After six weeks, Edward pops the question, Lila says yes and, one marriage ceremony later, they are on their way to Cabo for their honeymoon. Along the way, Edward discovers that he has virtually nothing in common with Lila. Worse, he meets another woman (Monaghan) who turns out to be everything he always dreamed of in a life partner and more.

Give credit to the Farrelly brothers. They took a chance on their updating Simon’s script and that chance pays off. Adding their own twists to the story, they manage to keep the plot intact while adding some language that I’m not sure Doc Simon had ever heard before. The cast is pitch perfect, with Stiller adding another notable character to his resumé. As the ladies of his affection, Akerman is outrageously crude as the young bride while Monaghan shows a hidden sweetness under her outgoing persona. Joining Ben Stiller is his father, Jerry, who plays Edward’s advice giving/Vegas-loving pop. Though he’s appeared in other films with his son, this is the first time Jerry got to play Ben’s dad and he has a ball with the opportunity. Like other Farrelly brother films, the language is a bit rough and the visual images even rougher. Here their big sight gag tops anything in “Mary” or “Knocked Up.” And, like other Farrelly brother films, those who sit through the end credits will be rewarded for their time. On a scale of zero to four stars I give “The Heartbreak Kid”

This week's movie review of "The Heartbreak Kid" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2007, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.