Fans of “There’s Something About Mary” will appreciate Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s newest addition to their raunchy romance genre “The Heartbreak Kid.”
Ben Stiller shines as the awkward Eddie Cantrow, a picky and aging bachelor known for his staggering fear of marriage.
When Cantrow meets the lovely and seemingly perfect Lila, played by Malin Akerman, he falls hard and fast. After a whirlwind romance, Lila announces that her employer is sending her overseas. The only thing preventing Lila’s relocation is the possibility of marriage, so Cantrow decides to marry Lila.
Up until the wedding, Cantrow was sure Lila was perfect in every possible way. She seemed intelligent, fun and sexy, so when things start seeming a little weird on their pre-honey moon drive to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Cantrow gets nervous.
The first scene that will shock viewers involves Cantrow and Lila’s first sexual encounter. Lila remained celibate through their courtship, so Cantrow is surprised when Lila is a cougar in the bedroom-demanding S’M style handling and vulgar talk.
Stiller’s facial expressions alone carry his character. The audience will be amused watching his face contort into a range of shapes as he expresses his fear, annoyance and disdain for his quickly changing wife.
After an aggravating drive into Mexico, Cantrow and Lila arrive at the resort in Cabo San Lucas. Here, Lila unveils a secret she swears she told her new husband – which in turn leads to out Cantrow’s growing anger with his new wife. His anger prompts Lila to spill the beans on several more scary things about her past, including an intense cocaine addiction that lead to thousands of dollars in debt.
At this point the viewer feels remorse for Cantrow and his poor decision, and the film is effective at sharing his regrets and troubles with the audience.
The flustered couple attempts to start over with a day on the beach and Lila avoids sunscreen in favor of baby oil. Lila ends up looking like a lobster and chooses to remain in the hotel room for the rest of the trip, which means Cantrow is finally free of his problem wife.
A chance conversation at the bar with a pretty, southern brunette named Miranda (Michelle Monaghan) leads to a growing flirtation and Cantrow discovers he prefers his lonely single days to his miserable marriage.
From this point the film becomes a tad too predictable and clich?. Though there are several scenes worth a laugh, it almost becomes too reliant on the same old jokes. Cantrow of course falls in love with Miranda, all the while crafting outrageous excuses for his absence to his crisped wife, who remains camped out in the hotel room for much of the trip.
The plot remains similar to almost all romantic comedies-the main character falls in love with somebody else, but has to come up with dramatic ways to keep both parties happy.
At the end of the film, it’s obvious that Cantrow’s marital status and fling are revealed, and a crazy meltdown between wife and mistress leads to a funny conflict between all parties involved.
Not unlike the “There’s Something About Mary” hair gel scene, viewers will get a kick out of one particular scene towards the end of the film. It will make your jaw drop-in both amusement and disgust. This scene is the most memorable of the film, and while it’s humorous, it doesn’t have the momentum and timing it should.
The film runs a little too long, and at one hour and 55 minutes, Cantrow’s chase across America for his true love, Miranda, drags on.
“The Heartbreak Kid” is not a movie that will make everybody happy, but it does offer some good laughs. Whether or not it’s worth the $10 admission depends on your sense of humor, and though many of the jokes are expected, they are carried through by an enigmatic cast. Side characters such as “Uncle Tito,” the amorous and always joking resort attendant, “Mac,” Cantrow’s married best friend, and meddling and dirty old man “Doc,” Cantrow’s dad, played by Jerry Stiller, who is Stiller’s father off-screen as well, add a little sparkle to some of the less funny scenes.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of the film is the remarkable cinematography. The film starts with sweeping aerial shots of San Francisco, and includes some breathtaking views of the bay area. The beautiful camera work continues through out the film, showcasing Cabo San Lucas’ natural beauty and brilliant beaches.
The film is based off of the original 1972 “The Heartbreak Kid”, starring Cybill Shepherd and Charles Grodin.
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