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The Heartbreak Kid

The promise of another raunchy R-rated comedy from Ben Stiller and the Farrelly brothers is just too good to pass up, right? Hmmm. The Heartbreak Kid may just make you long for their glory days.


Don't get me wrong. The Heartbreak Kid does have its moments. As a loose remake of the 1972 Neil Simon classic starring Charles Grodin, this story centers on 40-year-old Eddie Cantrow (Stiller), a commitment-shy fellow who can't seem to settle down. After years of his lusty father (Jerry Stiller) and henpecked married best friend (Rob Corddry) berating him for his pickiness when it comes to women, Eddie finally meets Lila (Malin Akerman), a seemingly perfect antidote to bachelorhood. Eddie impulsively proposes—and thus embarks on the longest journey of his life. As the couple head to Mexico on their honeymoon, Lila goes from being cute and quirky to being cute and crazy. From Lila's need for aggressively scary sex to her deviated septum from a cocaine problem, Eddie begins to realize he's made a terrible, TERRIBLE mistake. Then, at the exotic Mexican hideaway, Eddie falls for the down-to-earth Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), who has no clue he's on his honeymoon. Things get kind of complicated after that.


Stiller doing the stuff he does best really never gets old. He manages to instill in the not-so-likeable Eddie his own unique manic charm, like he has done countless times before. But now slightly grayer and more distinguished looking, the comic actor may have finally outgrown balls-out antics. At times, Stiller almost seems uncomfortable going wild and crazy in The Heartbreak Kid. He can do it, no problem, but he's actually more effective as the romantic lead. As the object of Eddie's affection, Monaghan (Mission: Impossible III) continues her streak of playing genuinely adorable, if slightly off-kiltered, ingénues. Akerman (Brothers Solomon) naturally doesn't come off nearly as well, since she's the nutcase in this scenario. But while comparisons to her look-alike and former Farrelly favorite Cameron Diaz should be obvious, Akerman tries to make the klutzy wacko her own. And in a fun turn, veteran comedian Jerry Stiller gets to shine his irascible light on his real-life son. You have to wonder if maybe some of their, er, conversations in the movie ever happened for real.


Here's the thing: Peter and Bobby Farrelly are respected veterans in film comedies, hands down. Dumb & Dumber and There's Something About Mary are hilarious classics, full of all the toilet humor one can handle. Who hasn't played a good drinking game watching one of those films? But as the Farrelly bros have gotten older, it seems they have also gotten softer in the middle, hence films such as Fever Pitch--and now, I'm afraid, The Heartbreak Kid. First of all, it must have been difficult raunchin' up an established Neil Simon gem (not too mention why they'd want to mess with the original in the first place). Secondly, maybe the Farrelly brothers have also finally grown up a little. There are definitely some outrageous moments in The Heartbreak Kid--most of which are in the trailer--but the underlying theme of the movie is more sweet than sticky. And that's OK, just so long as you don't expect the old Farrelly magic.

Bottom Line rated this film 2 stars.