Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 41
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

GEE, I’LL BET THAT SMARTS!: Eddie Cantrow (Ben Stiller, left) tries to apply a lotion to relieve the severe pain of the sunburn acquired by his new bride Lila (Malin Akerman) on their honeymoon in Mexico.

The Heartbreak Kid: Farrelly Brothers Responsible for Remake of 1972 Comedy

Forty year-old Eddie Cantrow (Ben Stiller) is having second thoughts about remaining a bachelor after he attends the wedding of an ex-girlfriend, Jodi (Ali Hillis). Most of his buddies have by now tied the knot, and even his best friend, Mac (Rob Corddry), appears to be happily married, even though he is henpecked.

Therefore, Eddie decides to heed his dad’s (Jerry Stiller) fatherly advice to start looking for a spouse before he loses his last chance at happiness and fulfillment. So, when he comes to the rescue of a damsel in distress, Lila (Malin Akerman) who is being robbed on Valentine’s Day, it’s no surprise that he takes it as a sign that the beautiful blonde is destined to be his soulmate.

After a whirlwind six week romance, Eddie proposes to Lila because she’s about to be transferred overseas by her job as an environmental researcher. Although he doesn’t really know her yet, he figured she’s gorgeous, so how bad could life with her be?

However, after they set out on their honeymoon Eddie begins to discover reasons to question the wisdom of his impulsive decision to marry. As the two become better acquainted, a darker side of his bride begins to emerge such as her sordid past, her foul mouth, and her $26,000 cocaine debt, to name a few. By the time the newlyweds arrive at their oceanfront resort in Mexico, the groom is quite disillusioned about his new wife.

This is the point of departure of The Heartbreak Kid, a remake of the 1972 dark comedy starring Charles Grodin and Cybill Shepherd. The original movie was directed by Elaine May and written by Neil Simon, however Simon’s script was scrapped by the Farrelly Brothers in favor of their own rewrite that is similar to their previous script writing collaboration with Ben Stiller in 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 truly humor scenes. Eddie is a despicable character, and the distasteful scenarios in which he becomes embroiled, fail to provide the audience with a reason to find anything funny about his shenanigans.

Soon after checking in to their hotel, 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. However, he fails to mention that he is on his honeymoon or even that he is 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 Eddie rudely keeps up the ruse in order to manipulate Miranda and 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 nudity, bodily function humor, soft porn, and slurs at various ethnic groups.

An unwatchable mess like this is exactly what you ought to expect from anybody with the gall to rewrite a Neil Simon script.

Poor (½ star). Rated R for profanity, nudity, crude humor, and graphic sexuality. Running time: 118 minutes. Studio: Paramount Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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