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Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon

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The Heartbreak Kid

It has been almost ten years since Ben Stiller teamed with the Farrelly brothers for the comedy classic “There’s Something About Mary”, which launched a series of highly successful films for Stiller who has championed the likeable loser role to the delight of audiences worldwide.

In the new film “The Heartbreak Kid”, Stiller is Eddie Cantrow, a successful owner of a San Francisco sporting goods, store who is at a crossroads in his life. At 40, Eddie is unmarried, not dating anyone, and about to attend the wedding of his former fiancé.

As if Eddie did not have enough to on his mind as he prepares for the wedding, his father (Jerry Stiller), constantly grills him on the need for him to sleep with more women and settle down. His best friend Mac (Rob Coddry) always touts the virtues of marriage and the need to do what the woman tells him to.

Shortly after the wedding, Eddie sees a lady being mugged and attempts to help her out. While things do not go as planned, he does form a connection with her and learns that her name is Lila (Malin Akerman), and despite his inability to muster the courage to ask for her number, she eventually shows up at his store looking for him.

The two begin to date and it looks like Eddie has finally found the perfect girl for him. She even shows old fashioned values by not wanting to have sex until later in their relationship, as she does not want to mess up a good thing.

The couple’s plans take an unexpected detour when Lila informs Eddie that her job plans to move her overseas for two years. When Eddie learns that her company will not transfer a married person, he musters up the courage and marries Lila after only 6 weeks of data.

The smitten couple plan to take three weeks to drive down to Cabo and stay at a resort, and enjoy their first weeks as husband and wife. Along the way, Eddie starts to see some annoying behavior arise in Lila, such as actively singing and acting along to every song on the radio, and some very acrobatic, dominate, and painful tendencies when they consummate their marriage.

As the honeymoon unfolds, Eddie becomes trapped in a nightmare, as it seems that Lila has become a crazy freak, and is not the person he though he married. Unsure what to do next, Eddie meets a lady named Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), while Lila is recovering from severe sunburn.

Intrigued by Miranda, Eddie starts to spend time with her, and soon falls for her which forces Eddie to figure out how to break the news of his marriage to Miranda, and how to get away from Lila.

In true Farrelly brother’s style, a series of outrageous and over the top events follows punctuated by some very crude and at times funny jokes and situations that push Eddie to the limits to find true love.

The film is a remake of the 1972 Neil Simon film of the same name, and while updated with more off color humor, the basic premise of the film has remained unchanged. There are some funny moments in the film and Stiller once again gets the job done as the likeable Eddie.

The problem is that for me, the film was two long, as many times there were gaps of almost twenty minutes between some of the good jokes, and I was left watching fairly dull stuff waiting for the next funny moment to arrive.

The performances in the film were eager, and the brothers did a workmanlike job of direction, as none of the cast was really challenged by the material. Even fine supporting work by Carlos Mencia as Uncle Tito did not get the chance to reach the potential his character showed. In the end, the film just had too many moments that did not work, as the jokes were too few and far between to truly be effective.

3 stars out of 5.


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