As Eddie gets closer to Miranda, he quickly regrets having rushed into a marriage with someone who could be considered mentally insane.
After stumbling through their last several films, Peter and Bobby Farrelly once again set the bar higher than most for crude, gross-out humor with The Heartbreak Kid, starring Ben Stiller in his funniest leading performance in years. Many people will argue that the Farrelly Brothers have not lived up to the success of There’s Something About Mary, which changed Hollywood movies almost a decade ago. Whether they have or haven’t is hardly worth focusing on because The Heartbreak Kid clears the slate clean from drivel like Me, Myself, and Irene, Shallow Hal and Stuck on You.
The movie is based on the 1972 movie of the same title penned by the great American writer Neil Simon and starring Charles Grodin. Obviously, with the Farrelly Brothers remaking such a movie, there will be very few similarities except for the main plot. Eddie Cantrow (Stiller) is a successful 40-year-old San Francisco sporting goods store owner. However, he is skeptical about the idea of marriage until he attends the wedding of his former fiancé. By chance, Eddie meets Lila (Malin Akerman) and the two start up an intense relationship that soon leads to marriage so Lila is not sent overseas for her job as an environmental researcher.
The happy couple road trips down to Mexico for a long honeymoon and Eddie soon realizes he didn’t know all there was to know about Lila, from her bouts of incessant singing to her predilection for violent sexual encounters. While seeking relief from his wife, Eddie meets and is immediately attracted to Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), who is at the same resort for her family reunion. As Eddie gets closer to Miranda, he quickly regrets having rushed into a marriage with someone who could be considered mentally insane.
Though Stiller is at the top of his game as Eddie, it is the supporting cast that is really worth watching. Jerry Stiller, Ben’s real-life dad, plays Eddie’s philandering father who delivers some of the movie’s most hilarious lines. Rob Corddry of The Daily Show fame shows up as Mac, Eddie’s best friend who is scared to death of his wife, thinking that’s just how marriage is. Even Carlos Mencia is entertaining as Uncle Tito who runs the resort where Eddie and Lila stay.
The real credit of the movie goes to the Farrelly Brothers for finally providing the audience with a satisfying product. After nearly ten years of mistakes and poor output, the brothers have taken a clever situation and have made it not only ridiculously funny, but also entertaining and real without being sappy. Akerman also deserves credit for stealing scene after scene from Stiller as Lila. No other performance in the movie is as fully developed or nuanced as hers.
The Heartbreak Kid is a hysterical movie from beginning to end. The kings of raunchy comedy finally strike again in what will have to be considered one of the funniest movies of the year. | Matthew F. Newlin