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The Heartbreak Kid: Middle-of-the-Road Comedic Fluff

When it comes to The Heartbreak Kid, here's the bottom line: If you loved Along Came Polly, chances are you'll probably enjoy The Heartbreak Kid. The two movies are very similar: Ben Stiller plays the lead and yet he's not the most interesting character by a long shot. The female characters are far more compelling than he is and the male peripheral characters are way funnier. The premise includes comical misunderstandings and amusing misadventures. It's not bad. It's not exactly charming, either.

Stiller plays Eddie Cantrow, a commitmentphobe who meets Lila (Malin Akerman), the woman of his dreams, and impulsively marries her. While honeymooning in Cabo, however, Eddie sees another side of his new bride and discovers that she's a wild child with a sketchy past and an insatiable desire for rough sex. Moral of that story: talk to your fiancee about things like money and sex before taking the plunge. Seems easy enough. Anyway, in Cabo Eddie meets a real dreamgirl, Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), who is vacationing with her family. They hit it off, but Eddie refrains from telling Miranda and her fam that he's married. The lies! The lies are so funny! To find out more,

The script, a remake of Neil Simon's 1972 version, is actually somewhat clever — some offensive fat jokes and the implication that illegal immigration is laugh-out-loud hilarious (or at least it is when a white guy does it!) notwithstanding. Many of the characters are great, and the actors playing them are even better. Rob Corddry, Malin Akerman and Jerry Stiller (playing, adorably, Eddie's dad) particularly stand out.

My biggest problem with the whole thing is Ben Stiller who, coasting on his former success with similar fare like There's Something About Mary, seems to think that he can now phone it in and audiences will stupidly gobble up anything he does. He doesn't bother with things like changing his expression (ever) or putting any sort of earnestness into his delivery. He seems to shrug at us, "Why bother?" He gets paid either way. Stiller aside, however, as yet another Farrelly Brothers comedy, the movie gets the job done.


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