‘Heartbreak’ Doesn’t Break Hearts
This remake about a man afraid of commitment reminds the audience that turning a classic movie into a modern hit is not as easy as finding your wife by eating pie.
The Farrelly brothers (‘There’s Something About Mary,’ ‘Shallow Hal’) show off their comic antics in ‘The Heartbreak Kid,’ a new film starring Ben Stiller. The movie focuses on what happens when a seemingly perfect bride turns into a nightmare.
Anxious about reentering the dating circuit after a failed engagement, Eddie (Stiller) runs into Lady Luck. Eddie heroically attempts to stop a mugger, but to no avail; the thief sprays Eddie in the face with perfume and makes his escape. As the grey-haired knight in shining armor wipes his eyes, Lila (Malin Akerman), an attractive environmentalist, appears.
The directors flash forward with a montage of make-out scenes against the backdrop of San Francisco’s infamous rolling fog, winding streets and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge. After a mere six weeks of dating, Eddie is sure that Lila is the one for him.
The honeymoon drive to Mexico offers insight into Lila’s true personality. While cramped into a blue Mini Cooper convertable, Eddie discovers his wife’s relentless vocal renditions of legendary 1980s and 1990s tunes from the Spice Girls and Miami Sound Machine.
At the hotel, Eddie meets Uncle Tito, the hotel concierge and Eddie’s eventual spiritual advisor. Uncle Tito, played by comedian Carlos Mencia, is not the only actor who plays off Stiller’s often-explosive comic style.
His father, veteran comedian Jerry Stiller, plays Doc, a blunt, old-fashioned socialite who has forgotten his age. The real-life father-son relationship translates well onto the screen; Doc just wants to see his son with a good girl.
It’s at the hotel that Eddie finally has the opportunity to be alone to ponder Lila’s non-existent income as a recovering coke addict. Suddenly, an easy-going new girl enters his life. Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), a Mississippi native and high school lacrosse coach, becomes the perfect antidote for Lila, who is too embarrassed to step outside their suite because of her peeling sunburn.
Miranda is impulsive, easy-going and sharply intelligent in spite of her redneck companions. Eddie finds himself concocting elaborate lies to spend more time with her and realizes that he has found his real true love.
Watching Eddie keep Lila in the dark about his daily outings while charming Miranda’s easily-entertained family makes the viewer wonder, ‘Hey, maybe Eddie really can get away with this.’
The only person not fooled by Eddie’s act is Martin. Miranda’s petulant guardian is cautious of all of the couple’s activities, especially their late beach side conversations about under the influence of the ‘devil’s lettuce.’
Eddie’s best friend Mac (Rob Corddry) comes in and out to give his buddy advice, along with some of the best one-liners in the film.
The Farrelly brothers’ unique style and diverse comic cast make this movie work. However, it lacks continuity and sometimes rehashes old ideas from ‘There’s Something About Mary,’ making this movie less than their best.