A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know the movie is premised on ugly, angry fighting between exes still sharing a condo, with several scenes that show real pain. Brooke has her pubic area waxed and parades the result in front of her ex (you see her naked back and legs; other body parts are obscured by objects in frame); in turn, Gary hires strippers for a poker game. Characters call each other names and cruelly make fun of each other and their families (this encompasses jokes about homosexuality, promiscuity, and violence/murder). It also features frequent uses of profanity (including at least one f-word).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The film, as the title suggests, showcases the break-up of art gallery manager Brooke (Jennifer Aniston) Chicago tour bus guide Gary (Vince Vaughn), which is complicated by the fact that they own a gorgeous condo together. Neither will leave the space, and so they vie for dominance, each hitting at the other's weak points (her flamboyantly gay-seeming brother [John Michael Higgins], his inability to communicate) in order to inflict punishment. The central conflict is wholly familiar: She comes from moderate money and prefers to keep her home perfectly appointed; he's working class, in business with his tousled brothers (Vincent D'Onofrio and Cole Hauser), and prefers playing violent video games to attending to his girlfriend's emotional needs.
Is it any good?
Teens love Vince Vaughn from Wedding Crashers, but that movie was rated R; this one is close without being nearly as funny. Careening from too-cute to mean-spirited, THE BREAK-UP recycles romantic comedy clichés without energy or inspiration.
While Gary reels off Vaughn's patented patter -- fast, aggressive, arrogant as a means to "hide" insecurity -- Brooke frequently looks sad and defeated. The couple seems so obviously mismatched that you can't help but wonder what they liked about each other to begin with. And the onslaught of insults and bad behaviors is so intense, that by the time it's over, you're just hoping it really is over.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difficulties of breaking up, whether with friends or romantic partners. How can you manage this without being mean to your ex? What kinds of bad advice do both Brooke and Gary get from their friends, and how might they behave in more mature, self-respecting ways?
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