Monday, October 8, 2007

The Heartbreak Kid

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Farrelly Brothers Responsible for Raunchy Remake of 1972 Comedy Classic

40 year-old Eddie Cantrow (Ben Stiller) is having second thoughts about remaining a bachelor after attending the wedding of an ex-girlfriend, Jodi (Ali Hillis). For most of his buddies have by now tied the knot, and even his best friend, Mac (Rob Corddry), appears to be happily married, despite being henpecked.
Therefore, Eddie decides to heed his dad’s (Jerry Stiller) fatherly advice to start looking for love before it’s too late and he loses his last chance at happiness and fulfillment. So, it’s no surprise that when he comes to the rescue of a damsel in distress (Malin Akerman) being robbed right on the street on Valentine’s Day, he takes it as a sign that the leggy blonde might be Ms. Right.
In fact, after a whirlwind romance of just six weeks, the Good Samaritan proposes to Lila, since otherwise she’s about to be transferred overseas by her job as an environmental researcher. Although he didn’t really know her yet, he figured she’s gorgeous, so how bad could life with her be?
Only after they set out on their honeymoon, does Eddie begin to uncover reasons to question the wisdom of his impulsive decision. For as the two become better acquainted, a less endearing side of his bride begins to emerge, from her sordid past to her deviated septum to her foul mouth to her insatiable appetite for rough sex to her $26,000 in cocaine debt. By the time the newlyweds arrive at their oceanfront resort in Mexico, the grouch groom is already fed up.
This recipe for disaster is the point of departure of The Heartbreak Kid, a sorry remake of the 1972 dark comedy starring Charles Grodin and Cybill Shepherd. The original was directed by Elaine May and written by the incomparable Neil Simon, but that script was scrapped by the Farrelly Brothers in favor of a raunchy rewrite reminiscent of their previous collaboration with Ben Stiller, There’s Something about Mary.
Regrettably, this picture pales in comparison to the relatively-amusing Mary, sharing only its shock value, while failing to serve up any side-splitting humor. Granted, by design, Eddie is a despicable character, however, the distasteful scenario which he ‘s embroiled in fails to furnish the audience a reason to find anything funny about his shameful shenanigans.
Soon after checking in, Eddie ventures down to the hotel’s bar alone where he proceeds to put the moves on Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), an attractive young woman from Mississippi who’s there with relatives for an annual family getaway. Not only does the creep fail to mention that he’s on his honeymoon, but he doesn’t even let on that he’s married.
Like a typical TV sitcom, the plot turns on the continuing concealment of a lie which would easily resolve the matter if revealed. But no, evil Eddie rudely keeps up the ruse in order to use Miranda and manipulate her feelings, while cheating on his wife.
Besides the morally-objectionable storyline, the Farrellys are up to their usual tricks. This means they fill the screen with gratuitous nudity, gross-out bodily function humor, graphically-depicted soft porn and meanspirited potshots at assorted ethnic groups.
An unwatchable mess like this is exactly what you ought to expect from anybody with the unmitigated gall to overhaul Neil Simon.

Poor (.5 star)
Rated R for profanity, female frontal nudity, crude humor and graphic sexuality.
Running time: 118 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures

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