The Farrelly brothers have had a successful history, but their best work was past them a long time ago. Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary are among the two funniest comedies of all-time, and put the brothers at the peak of stardom. However, their track record afterwards is a heavily mixed bag; you find your underrated gems (Osmosis Jones, Fever Pitch) and then your disasters (Shallow Hal, Stuck on You). The Heartbreak Kid is their attempt to reach back into grade-A stardom like back in the late 90s. Joining with old friend Ben Stiller, they attempt to successfully recreate an old Neil Simon story about a man who has second thoughts about his marriage during his honeymoon. What we get is a cruel, twisted, vulgar, outrageous, and bittersweet movie that tramples over morality and messes around with the typical romantic comedy formula. Unfortunately though, the cruelty in this movie prevents it from being anywhere near romantic. While the Farrelly brothers crafted their best work since Osmosis Jones, this is still nowhere near as good as their comedies of the previous decade.
Heartbreak Kid is about Eddie (Ben Stiller), a lonely man who meets a woman (Lila, played by Malin Akerman) during a random encounter, and after a few weeks believes that she is the perfect woman for him. However, right after the wedding, another side of his perfect woman is revealed, and is slowly but surely becoming a nightmare come true. Despite their honeymoon being in a beautiful portion of Mexico, the honeymoon is a disaster as Eddie struggles to survive being with his new wife. Worst of all, during the honeymoon he meets another woman, Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), who seems to be absolutely perfect for him. In this cruel script, nobody is the hero, and seemingly everybody is the victim in some way or another. Nobody is safe in the movie; which makes this story perfect for the Farrelly Brothers.
Ben Stiller seems to play the same kind of role multiple times, as he has a similar presence to that of his character in There's Something About Mary and Along Came Polly. The only difference is, he's a bit more sinister and a much bigger jerk. His new wife is portrayed perfectly by Malin Akerman, who isn't afraid of embarrassing herself or showing off her body. Their physical humor together creates the biggest laughs in the movie. The most desirable character by far comes from the best performance; Michelle Monaghan of Mission Impossible fame delivers this charming, sweet performance as the adorable and beautiful Miranda. Everyone else did a decent job, with Jerry Stiller in a throwaway role as Eddie's father and Carlos Mencia (surprisingly funny) as a manager of the hotel in Mexico.
This movie's biggest flaw is its obvious attempts to re-create the surprise vulgarity and bittersweet content of There's Something About Mary. It worked back then, but it has trouble now, simply because the characters are not as likable, and the movie lacks heart. In Dumb and Dumber, you knew that they weren't meant to get that dream girl, but their persistence and their kindness (hidden underneath their stupidity) allows for the audience to root for them regardless. In There's Something About Mary, the main character goes to great lengths to find Mary and attempt to be with her; it became a raunchy and bizarre hero's journey. In this movie, the main character selfishly marries, and tramples over other people (emotionally mind you) in order to find his actual soulmate; making him not a necessarily likable character.
In spite of the lack of heart, you will find the laughs, no denying that. The new wife from hell routine was spoiled far too much in the previews, yet was still enjoyable. Unfortunately, once again, misdirection keeps Heartbreak Kid from being funnier than it could have been. After a while, Lila practically disappears from the movie, focusing more on Eddie's budding romance with Miranda. The movie mellows down once Lila is out of the way, and then we see a train wreck waiting to happen for about half an hour. If you are a fan of There's Something About Mary, there will be plenty to laugh about, but none of the content is rich or deep; most of the funniest scenes happens to be gross-out and shock humor. One unique thing in Heartbreak Kid is pretty crappy special effects, which makes it worse for this kind of movie because these kinds of movies do not use much special effects, if any at all. Soundtrack also isn't as catchy or as fun as other Farrelly Brothers movies, especially Dumb and Dumber.
Bottom Line: Heartbreak Kid is funny, but its not an instant classic, nor is it a type of movie to take a date to. While it is not as painfully disastrous as Good Luck Chuck, it still pales in comparison to recent adult comedies and early Farrelly efforts. Ben Stiller still provides the laughs through his physical humor and his ability to perfectly portray a man mentally breaking down. However, this movie has major morality issues and then really slows down once the romance builds up, yet we aren't rooting for anybody because everyone is guilty of lying, deceiving, and worse (except for one character). The directors are somewhat on the right track back to their glory days, but still have a longs way to go. They also really need to grow up and try to fray away from the gross humor, something that Mike Myers suffers from. Looking for laughs? Look no further. Looking for an amazing film? Keep looking.
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