When going into a Farrelly Brothers comedy, you can expect some hefty gross-out humor. In the case of The Heartbreak Kid, it delivers in that sense. Unfortunately, it leaves a lot to be desired elsewhere, and if it’s not being disgusting, it’s not being entertaining.
Ben Stiller plays a character he’s played in countless other comedic roles. He’s looking to marry as he hits 40, and thinks he hit the jackpot with Malin Akerman. Unfortunately, after marriage, she turns crazy. The film follows Stiller’s need to distance himself from her on their honeymoon while building a relationship with Michelle Monaghan who also happens to be vacationing in the same resort.
The film hits most of the clichés you would expect from a romantic comedy. There are weddings, ex-girlfriends, men talking about women the way no men ever talk to friends about women, and a predictable ending (albeit with a twist). As a comedy, the film relies on gags about a deviated septum, Jerry Stiller discussing “crushing” things, and multiple sex romps. The film’s gags are repetitive, and while they may be funny the first time, they fail to generate laughs the second time around.
That said, Heartbreak Kid does manage some laugh-out-loud moments. A montage that includes an offending donkey, Stiller’s new wife discussing her sexual preferences, a jellyfish incident, and some minor story revelations are truly funny bits. Unfortunately, they’re just that: bits. They come and go, and the rest of the film is left dry and cliché.
There’s obviously some attempt to rekindle the magic of There’s Something About Mary given the attempts by Stiller to woo another women, but it can never attain those goals. Heartbreak Kid doesn’t have the sharp writing needed to carry the periods between the heavy laughs.
The Blu-ray release marks the second hi-def effort for the film, hitting HD DVD last year. This looks to be the same encode. The transfer is sharp, and offers spotty scenes of fine detail. There are scenes where DNR seems to take over, giving faces a flat, murky look. Colors are mostly spectacular, especially the resort photography. However, flesh tones always waver in pink territory, and never look natural. Black levels are bold, and loaded with depth, but it’s not enough to save this transfer from mediocrity.
While TrueHD seems like overkill for a comedy, the film does benefit. From the opening wedding sequence which nicely surrounds the viewer with chatter, to the crowded city streets, and finally into the resort, there’s always some fine sound work to admire. While there’s nothing to deliver on the low end, the film does manage a fine surround field for most of its dialogue scenes.
Extras are sparse, and seem more concerned about behind-the-scenes events than the making of the film itself. A commentary from the Farrelly Brothers discusses updating the film (this is a remake), and the general shooting location. Four short featurettes are forgettable. The best one is about the egg-toss tournament that took place on the set. The Halloween party one is a waste of disc space, seemingly made purely for those who worked on the movie while everyone else is left out.
Only one, a 16-minute piece called The Farrelly Brothers in the French Tradition contains making-of material. A gag reel has some minor laughs, and the seven minutes of deleted scenes do little to enhance the film, or increase its laugh quota.
Heartbreak Kid wasn’t a huge box office hit, and haunted Ben Stiller during last years MTV Movie Awards. In a skit designed to promote Tropic Thunder, Robert Downey Jr. retorts that at least he didn’t star in Heartbreak Kid. That short skit arguably offers more laughs than this entire film.