Marriage, Morality Get a Beating in The Heartbreak Kid
- 2007 5 Oct
DVD Release Date: December 26, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: October 5, 2007
Rating: R (for strong sexual content, crude humor and language)
Run Time: 116 min.
Director: The Farrelly Brothers: Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Actors: Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan, Jerry Stiller, Malin Akerman, Carlos Mencia, Stephanie Courtney, Ali Hillis
When it comes to uncomfortable situations, like meeting his future in-laws for the first time in Meet the Parents or dealing with digestive issues after a date with Jennifer Aniston in Along Came Polly, it’s fun (and often funny) to watch actor Ben Stiller squirm under pressure. In fact, he’s probably got the market cornered as the guy who just can’t seem to get a break in movie after movie.
In The Heartbreak Kid, Stiller plays a similar character. This time around he’s Eddie Cantrow, a 40-year-old marriage-phobe who was gutsy (or was it stupid?) enough to attend his ex-fiancée’s wedding, only to be humiliated by those giving the toasts and forced to sit at the kids’ table, where he’s constantly accused of being gay because, well, he’s not married yet. To add insult to injury, his always-making-a-crude-joke-about-women’s-genitalia dad Doc (played by Stiller’s real life father, Jerry Stiller) won’t stop nagging him about his unmarried status and repeatedly tells him to lower his expectations before he ends up single and alone. With parents like that, who needs …Yeah, you get the idea.
So when Eddie unexpectedly meets Lila (Cameron Diaz look-a-like Malin Akerman) on Valentine’s Day after her purse is snatched by an ex-boyfriend, (don’t ask), it seems he’s hit the romantic jackpot. In the beginning, Lila is everything a guy like Eddie could want. She’s beautiful, passionate about her work as an environmental researcher and the biggest plus of all, she’s not in a rush to get married. Whew!
Due to an unexpected twist of screenwriting (her job is requiring her to relocate to Germany … how convenient!), their courtship is put on fast forward because Eddie doesn’t want to lose her. So after only six weeks of dating, Eddie asks Lila to marry him. And they live happily after, right? Ah, no.
With the countless instances of foreshadowing from all of Eddie’s friends beforehand about how wretched and confining marriage is, it’s easy to see what’s coming from a mile away once the couple starts the honeymoon road trip from San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas. At first, the grievances, like Lila’s non-stop sing-alongs to annoying pop songs like The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe,” are only minor. But once they actually arrive in Cabo, things really get dicey, especially in the bedroom, when Lila wants rough sex (and sadly, these scenes are shown to disturbing effect). There’s also the issue of her drug use past, which causes all kinds of gross-out moments with her nostrils, and despite Eddie’s constant warnings about sunscreen, Lila gets burned beyond recognition, which puts an end to any more fun in the sun.
But Eddie decides that he’s going to have fun with or without Lila, so he ventures out for a drink while his wife rests. And it doesn’t take long before he’s downing shots with a laid back, pretty Southern girl named Miranda (Michelle Monaghan). In contrast to his scary bride, Miranda seems to be everything that Lila is not, a refuge he seeks again and again.
Because of Lila’s sudden transformation from a sensible girl to scary new wife, we’re meant to sympathize with Eddie, yet another one of the movie’s potshots against marriage. But for those who aren’t into the idea of disposable relationships, let alone disposable marriages, it merely underscores the importance of getting to really know someone before you tie the knot. Marriage isn’t something one should be peer-pressured into. That’s a little too level-headed thinking for a Farrelly Brothers movie, however. All they (and the screenwriters) seem to be concerned about is pushing the proverbial envelope, which makes The Heartbreak Kid merely a rude and crude excuse to exercise the full limits of the “R” rating, which doesn’t do moviegoers with moral standards any favors. Or a funny actor like Ben Stiller.
- Drugs/Alcohol: Plenty of social drinking/drunkenness shown throughout, mentions of Lila’s drug-using past are mentioned frequently
- Language/Profanity: A slew of four-letter words are used constantly.
- Sex/Nudity: Like most Farrelly Brothers fare, the sexual innuendos are raunchy and pervasive. And if that wasn’t enough to make you feel like you need a shower after watching, there’s several graphic sex scenes (complete with female nudity) that are meant for laughs, but are just plain uncomfortable to watch.
- Violence: Plenty of the comic variety.