Pairing a real-life celebrity couple on-screen is hardly an uncommon event.
Seeing this pairing come together as a genuinely funny movie, on the other hand, is almost completely unheard of, and new Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston comedy "The Break-Up" manages to be entertaining without feeling like a vehicle for the latest celebrity couple to draw tabloid attention.
Vaughn's Gary Grobowski is a Chicagoan who runs a tour bus company with his brothers. Gary is basically the same character as Vaughn's Peter LaFleur from "Dodgeball" or Jeremy Grey from "Wedding Crashers." Jennifer Aniston plays Brooke Meyers exactly like her most well-known role, Rachel Green on TV's "Friends." These characters, while not wholly original, are formulaic enough to carry the film. On the downside, Gary and Brooke do not seem to have much natural chemistry. While the film gives us plenty to show how they drive each other crazy, one might wonder why these two people got together in the first place.
After a huge fight breaks up Gary and Brooke, neither one is willing to move out of the condominium they share. The two then set out to drive each other crazy, and then subconsciously trying to save the relationship.
The supporting cast is excellent. Jason Bateman is subtly hilarious as the couple's soft-spoken realtor. Jon Favreau is just as entertaining as Gary's bartender friend who always has plenty of bad advice to give. Joey Lauren Adams shows up as well, perhaps to remind the audience how much the film feels like "Chasing Amy" towards its finale.
While the humor never gets as zany as some of Vaughn's other comedies, like "Old School," there are still laughs to be had. An impromptu accapella jam led by Brooke's brother, played by John Michael Higgins ("Best in Show"), is particularly memorable — both for Higgins' straight delivery and Vaughn's signature facial reactions.
Like "Wedding Crashers," the last half-hour or so becomes more serious, once the majority of the jokes are done and the story needs to come to a close. Just as the not-so-funny ending seemed like it would drag out for a while longer, it ends rather abruptly — to the point that the screening audience even released an audible "huh?" when the credits started to roll.
While the ending might be somewhat off-putting, any other ending would have been forced. It leaves the audience to imagine what happens next.
We'll have to check the tabloids.