Parents' Guide to

Breaking Them Up

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Divorce romcom is a "feel bad" comedy; language, vaping.

Movie PG-13 2021 95 minutes
Breaking Them Up Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

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What may have started out as a comforting comedy for children of divorce results in a film so bitter that you might as well call it an anti-family film. A teen sabotaging his parents' marriage in hopes that they'll cheat on each other and split up is the antidote to the feel-good romcom. Is it an original concept? Yes. But that's because it's such a bad idea. Even dismissing this effort as "entertainment," the story is more problematic than mind-easing, no matter what circumstance a family is facing. And making vaping look cool in a film geared toward tweens and teens is downright reckless.

The positive is that the dialogue is witty and openly acknowledges its inspirations. Some viewers may get a kick out of the love letter to Hitch, but the real issue is how it twists The Parent Trap. Films that show divorced parents getting back together can set up false hopes for young viewers, but it's perhaps even more detrimental for a film to suggest that parents who argue are destined for divorce. And then there's the takeaway that all good things must come to an end, including love. Finding "your person" is one of the most anticipated events in many people's lives, which is why so much art revolves around it. To create a piece of work that diminishes the hope of finding everlasting love is a cynicism no one needs, especially kids.

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