Ben Stiller has officially hit the wall. Once an engaging, amusing presence in Hollywood, his films have become a Mobius strip of humiliation, awkwardness and arrested development. Where's the adventurous actor who tried out drama in Permanent Midnight or Your Friends and Neighbors? What happened to the stinging comic bite of the man behind "The Ben Stiller Show"? Stiller has become a one-man mint, turning out indifferent copies of successful formulas that rake in millions at the box office but just make Stiller seem less and less funny with each passing year.
Re-teaming with his There's Something About Mary directors, Peter and Bobby Farrelly (doubtless hoping lightning would strike twice), Stiller anchors the tonally unbalanced and viciously crude remake of the 1972 Charles Grodin vehicle The Heartbreak Kid. So much of the film is geared towards shocking the audience with raunchy dialogue or unseemly sequences, but what makes Mary work is the heart beneath it all. Here, Stiller veers into some unsettlingly dark territory towards the film's conclusion, but the filmmakers (and all six -- count 'em -- six screenwriters) act as though nothing untoward is happening.
Stiller stars as Eddie Cantrow, an aging bachelor unwilling to commit to the right woman. When he meets cute with Lila (Malin Akerman, forced to do things that even Cameron Diaz didn't have to put up with), his best friend Mac (a wasted Rob Corddry) and his vile father Doc (Stiller's real-life dad Jerry), Eddie decides to marry Lila on a whim. It's only when the couple heads south to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for their honeymoon, that Eddie meets the vivacious Miranda (a wasted Michelle Monaghan) and discovers he may have fallen for the wrong girl.
If you can't see where all of this is going to end up, then you haven't sat through very many movies in your life. The grating Carlos Mencia adds absolutely nothing and the surprise Eva Longoria cameo amounts to zilch. From start to finish, The Heartbreak Kid (which, to its credit, does achieve a chuckle here and there) is labored and lamentable. The Farrelly brothers, hard up for a hit, don't do themselves any favors with this re-make, a limp, slightly mean-spirited affair that just never clicks. Fortunately, you've been warned -- so feel free to pass this one right on by.
One curious note: According to a title card, the film has been edited for content, but having missed this in theaters, I couldn't tell you what's been clipped. If any eagle-eyed DVD Talkers find out, please let me know and I'll amend my review accordingly.
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is spot-on throughout, displaying warm, accurate colors, crisp delineation and vivid saturation. Befitting a recently shot film, The Heartbreak Kid looks mostly flawless, with no discernible defects apparent on this disc. The Audio:
Plenty of melodic pop songs and the odd sound effect are the only excitement on this Dolby Digital 5.1 track; dialogue is conveyed clearly with no distortion or drop-out and the surrounds just don't have much to do. Optional French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are included, as are optional English, French and Spanish subtitles. The Extras:
The Farrelly brothers contribute a genial, informative commentary track, discussing the project's genesis and making-of; the 16 minute, 33 second featurette "The Farrelly Brothers in the French Tradition" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) explores the brothers' working relationship on the film, while the four minute, 59 second featurette "Ben & Jerry" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) details the father-son team's experiences. The three minute, 23 second featurette "Heartbreak Halloween" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) reveals the cast and crew's Halloween party; the eight minute, three second featurette "The Egg Toss" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) details a bet the Farrelly brothers made on-set and a four minute gag reel is offered up in fullscreen, while trailers, six deleted scenes (presented in fullscreen; playable separately or all together for an aggregate of seven minutes, 23 seconds) and a three-minute Easter egg about Peter Farrelly's "greatest practical joke ever" (presented in anamorphic widescreen) completes the disc. Final Thoughts:
From start to finish, The Heartbreak Kid (which, to its credit, does achieve a chuckle here and there) is labored and lamentable. The Farrelly brothers, hard up for a hit, don't do themselves any favors with this re-make, a limp, slightly mean-spirited affair that just never clicks. Fortunately, you've been warned -- so feel free to pass this one right on by. Skip it.