The Break-Up

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Break-Up Movie Poster Image
Mean-spirited comedy pushes edge for teens.
  • PG-13
  • 2006
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 13 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

After the break-up, exes use cruel tactics to "get even," including visible dates to inspire jealousy, mishandling of property, and nasty accusations during arguments.


Gary plays violent video games; his friend makes jokes about hiring hitmen. Brooke's brother beats up Gary.


Many sexual references (especially by Gary, who describes sexual activity and body parts, such as "d--k"); men and women play strip poker (women get down to underwear); Brooke has her pubic area waxed (this scene shows her grimace and exclamation), then walks naked through apartment (you see her upper body and legs, her breasts and crotch blocked by objects in frame); Mary hires a male model whose naked back and butt is visible as she paints.


Pushing the edge for PG-13: Language includes one f-word, plus frequent uses (10-15 or more) of "s--t" and other profanity.


Visible junk food and beer brands (Lays and other chips, Budweiser, fast food wrappers).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigar-smoking and drinking (beer, liquor, wine).

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).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byEmilia . May 16, 2017

Film Literature A1 Emme Chadwick

“The Break up” is a film that incorporates a real life situation into a film that is relatable and well rounded. This film produces a new look at relationships... Continue reading
Parent of a 13 and 17-year-old Written byParentShell123 January 9, 2016

Terrible ending.

I watched this with my 13 year old daughter and there were some parts that were a bit risky, but it was mainly swearwords and she knows never to repeat these. H... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybiovox14 March 12, 2017

Ultimately a bit dissapointing.

Well, people play strip poker, theres female rear nudity, brief breast shots, implied nudity, and the list goes on with bad jokes. The ending was dissapointing... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bymongofa May 27, 2010

Skip it

A disappointment. It is supposed to be a comedy but it was more like a drama.

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?

Movie details

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