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David Poland

By David Poland

Broken Break-Up

“The ability to combine sadness and light in a movie is rare. But the ability to go from broad comedy to heavy, mean, real anger and hurt – while keeping the audience engaged – is near impossible. And it proves to be the death of this well-intended movie.
They didn’t want to make The War Of The Roses II and they didn’t want to make How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. They didn’t even want to do When Harry Met Sally. This is a movie about a couple that splits based on a whim and then proceeds to allow its characters to behave in endless stupid, if occasionally funny, ways.”
The rest…

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16 Responses to “Broken Break-Up”

  1. ManWithNoName says:

    Currently at 0% on RT.
    Do you think Universal will change their marketing strategy after the first weekend, or take their “Wedding Crashers suckers” money and be done with it?

  2. jeffmcm says:

    This review actually makes me more interested in seeing the movie, not less.

  3. ManWithNoName says:

    I agree with you Jeff. There’s a similar review on AICN right now, but that reviewer recommended the film.
    I honestly had no interest whatsoever, but I might have to check out a matinee. There’s nothing else playing near me this weekend.

  4. Jeremy Smith says:

    Either the zany and bitter tones mesh for you, or they don’t. I think Reed was completely successful, but I also think he’s at his sharpest with the more grounded elements of the script.
    As for box office, I haven’t bothered to check on whether the tracking numbers improve, but Vaughn is his generation’s Bill Murray. Guys worship him. I can’t see this not being huge.

  5. RoyBatty says:

    Okay, this is downright spooky
    (note, this posting has very little to do with the film itself, so if navel-gazing is not your thing best skip to the next one). Let’s call this little story “The Pitfalls of Drinking With Access To Huge DVD Collection”
    Last night I finally watched last week’s episode of “The Sopranos” where Carm goes to Paris. At one point, someone starts humming “As Time Goes By.” When it was over, I didn’t want to get into something else that would keep me up too late, so I decided to pop in CASABLANCA just to watch the story set up. It’s really hard to watch that film, especially buzzed, and not think “Man, I just love this fucking film” when those great lines start zipping around.
    Soon as I thought about great lines, the line “Best last line of a movie, ever” popped into my head. For a year, the special edition of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY has been sitting on my shelf waiting. What the hell, I thought, lets watch the start of it and got about 45mins into before forcing myself to go to bed.
    So, here I am, perusing the web film sites when I come to first new Hot Blog threads in days. In TWO seperate entries, DP references HARRY/SALLY. Considering how random last night’s viewing of it is (I almost put in CHUNGKING EXPRESS instead), it is very bizarre to say the least…

  6. martin says:

    roy, brevity is the soul of wit.
    As much as I like Vaughn, it’s a real stretch to call him this generations Bill Murray. There’s no actor/comedian out there with Bill’s skills. Maybe in 20 yrs Vaughn will be there, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

  7. jeffmcm says:

    Maybe not Groundhog Day/Lost in Translation Bill Murray, but he seems like a decent fit with Meatballs/Ghostbusters Bill Murray.

  8. martin says:

    well I just read Poland’s break-up review and he kind of sums it up: “Murray was not as physically intimidating as Vaughn and not as physically attractive.” It can be as simple as that. It’s a little bit harder to laugh with/at a guy for physical reasons. Brad Pitt just isn’t going to be as funny as a Woody Allen. Vaughn’s got talent, but his personality/persona is just not as likeable or amusing as Murray’s, at least to me.

  9. jeffmcm says:

    Have you seen how pudgy Vaughn is these days? Maybe he’s working to become less physically attractive as we speak.

  10. Lurconis says:

    This is one of those films that I oddly feel like I am pulling for to do the business. Even if it’s not wholly successful, to see people attempt to inject some bite and ambition into something as formulaic as the rom-com genre is laudable. I think Aniston is a great comedien, but has been hamstrung by indifferent material, which is a huge shame. Vaughan will better survive the film if it is a disappointment. Reed on the other hand sort of needs to prove himself. Bring it On is superb, and I guess I am one of the few who also loved Down with Love, so I am hoping that I will be on the positive side with this one

  11. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Bring It On is a teen classic of the 2000s (nestled just in front of Mean Girls). And while Down With Love was a bit off it succeeded in many areas and it’s a shame it got ignored for it’s costumes and art direction come awards season.
    I too actually want this movie to succeed. It doesn’t look like a bland vanilla movie even if it may very well be. I too like Aniston and wish she could move to the next level. Plus, I’d like to see a movie like this do well in the Summer. Maybe give them a heads up that seeing comic book movies and sequels and remakes every weekend isn’t gonna fly.

  12. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m sure the weak material has something to do with it, but I don’t think Aniston is a good actress. In fact I really can’t stand her. She was decent in The Good Girl, but I found her to be downright awful in Derailed and Rumor Has It. I haven’t seen Friends With Money.

  13. Cadavra says:

    I loved DOWN WITH LOVE. Reed and the writers were doing nothing more than a flat-out homage to a very specific style of comedy and, in my mind, succeeded beautifully. I believe the people who disliked it did so because it wasn’t what they wanted it to be–some kind of snarky post-modern version of Day-Hudson-Randall–rather than a straight-up recreation.

  14. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Well, Aniston was flat out excellent on Friends, so…

  15. Cadavra says:

    Well, you’re one-third right…

  16. martindale says:

    Looks like the movie will be a hit. Over $15 mil on the first day. I for one liked the film, but I can see how the tone of the movie may be a turn-off to some.

The Hot Blog

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon