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“Okay, cat’s out of the bag. My son found your panties on the sidewalk and we’ve been talking about you all week. Eddie, give her back her undies.”
DVD ReviewThe Farrelly Brothers came out of nowhere back in 1994, striking it rich with the box office hit Dumb & Dumber. From there, they went on to be even more successful with Kingpin and There’s Something About Mary, but when 2000’s Me, Myself, & Irene was a disappointment, both critically and financially, it began a downward spiral. After the further disappointments that were Shallow Hal, Stuck on You, and Fever Pitch, they went the remake route, tackling a new version of The Heartbreak Kid. Filling the roles that Charles Grodin and Cybill Shepherd tackled in the original are Ben Stiller and newcomer Malin Akerman, who drive this new, ill-fated version that only furthers the Farrelly Brothers’ trend towards irrelevance.
Eddie Cantrow (Ben Stiller) runs a sporting goods store in San Francisco and is attending the wedding of his long-time fiancée, whom he is still struggling to get over. His luck seemingly changes when he literally bumps into Lila (Malin Akerman) on the street, and they hit it off right away. Next thing he knows, Eddie is married to this beautiful woman that he’s known for less than two months, and they’re on their way to Cabo for a honeymoon. During the long drive there, Eddie realizes that marrying this woman was a mistake. If Lila’s cocaine-induced deviated septum, far-too-rough sex habits, and pure crudeness weren’t enough, Eddie meets the level-headed Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), and the two fall in love. If only he could divorce the nightmare that is Lila, immediately.
This is an extremely difficult film to sit through for numerous reasons, the first of which being that virtually every bad thing that happens to Eddie can be telegraphed from the get-go. By the time he’s going ballistic on a Mariachi band, it’s obvious that the rest of the running time will consist of nothing but horrible things for him. Watching the ridiculous second half is one of the most frustrating movie experiences I’ve ever dealt with. At one point, one of the most important characters to the story simply disappears, and is never heard from again during the rest of the movie. Not that we miss this person in the slightest, but there’s no reason even a simple explanation isn’t given regarding their fate.
The Farrelly Brothers are notorious for the gross-out aspects in their films, but they take things to a new, completely tasteless level here. In the past, their gags at least fit in with the overall plot, but here, they’re as gratuitous as they get. We see things that have absolutely no business being here, or in any “comedy,” including a graphic depiction of a complete lack of “lady grooming” and, during the same sequence, the controversial cure for a jellyfish sting. Adding insult to injury is a horrible montage of Eddie’s quest to find Miranda back in the States. This involves about 10 minutes of Stiller growing massive amounts of facial hair as he’s beat up by virtually everyone he comes into contact with, whether it’s a Border Patrol guard or a cripple that deceptively helps him onto a moving train.
Ben Stiller phones in yet another “Ben Stiller Performance,” but his dad, Jerry gets in on the act too. Unfortunately, he’s seemingly around for the sole purpose of spouting off the worst possible dirty words any man could come up with. Even the normally funny Rob Corddry is relegated to best friend status here, but he never has the chance to steal even a few scenes from Stiller. It’s difficult to see much potential for Akerman, since the Farrellys have made her character one of the most annoying in film history.
Just about the only thing the film has going for it is the inclusion of quite a few David Bowie songs, but that’s far from enough to distract from this miserable experience. The misery continues up and through the final scene, as just when it seems that The Heartbreak Kid might actually have some heart behind it, the appearance of a huge TV star in an unexpected cameo completely derails that notion. I guess we can’t accuse the Farrellys of being inconsistent.
Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D+
Image Transfer Review: The film is presented in its original 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio, and it’s far from one of the better HD DVD video transfers. Images are still fairly sharp and detailed, but there’s an overriding softness to the film that isn’t evident in most recent HD presentations. Bright colors are used, but they’re often muted, while grain, dirt, and other artifacts are kept at bay.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: We’re offered a Dolby Digital + 5.1 track, as well as a lossless one in Dolby TrueHD, with neither being earth-shattering. This is a pretty standard comedy soundtrack, though, so not much is expected in the audio department. The music cues sound quite good, emanating from all of the speakers, while the dialogue is always crisp and clear.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by The Farrelly Brothers
The Farrelly Bros. in the French Tradition is a 16-minute piece that begins with the guys talking about how they got into the movie business. After that discussion the focus turns to the making of The Heartbreak Kid, with this part of the segment being far less interesting than the first.
Ben & Jerry is a five-minute featurette about real-life father and son Jerry and Ben Stiller working together on the film, while Heartbreak Halloween is three-minutes of footage from an on-set Halloween party that the directors threw for the cast and crew.
The eight-minute The Egg Toss shows us an on-set event that the cast and crew partook in. There’s also a four minute gag reel, six deleted scenes, and the original theatrical trailer for The Heartbreak Kid.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsThe Farrelly Brothers’ remake of The Heartbreak Kid is not only one of the worst movies of 2007, but easily their darkest hour (or two). This Ben Stiller vehicle is consistently crude and unfunny, with some of the most abhorrent characters in recent memory. The DreamWorks HD DVD release isn’t one of their finest efforts either, with generally lackluster audio and video, along with a collection of extras that are only mildly amusing.
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