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DVD Review: The Heartbreak Kid

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The R-rated DVD of The Heartbreak Kid begins with an ominous introduction to the film: “This film has been edited for content.” I'm not sure what that refers to considering there isn't an unrated DVD, but I know whatever was cut from this version of the film didn't make it any better.

The Heartbreak Kid stars Ben Stiller as the single, 40-something Eddie who rushes into marriage with an attractive, seemingly perfect woman named Lila (Malin Akerman). In Eddie's defense, he was sick of his father (Jerry Stiller) telling him to "crush pussies," and he just watched his ex get married.

On his Mexican honeymoon with Lila, he finds certain things about her irritating. She's unemployed, broke, a recovering coke addict, and has $26,000 in debt, in addition to having bizarre, violent sex habits. When she goes against his advice to wear sun screen, she's severely burned and forced to stay in the hotel. This gives Eddie time to hit the bar by himself and fall in love with Miranda (Michelle Monaghan).

The Heartbreak Kid may sound like a romantic comedy (well, except for the addiction to blow), but the film isn't that romantic and worst of all, it's hardly funny. The Farrelly Brothers, who went soft with Fever Pitch and made one hell of a romantic comedy, aren't able to retain the qualities of their earlier gross-out efforts even when they try. But it's the casting missteps that really seem to do them in.

Akerman isn't very funny, though she is burdened with much of the film's comedic weight. When she has to play opposite a more restrained Ben Stiller, we are stuck watching jokes fall so flat we don't even see where the setups and the punchlines are.

Ben Stiller's real-life dad, Jerry, is also a hard sell in the role of the sex-crazed father, mainly because his jokes don't take advantage of his assets as a comedian. Only Carlos Mencia, who plays a hotel concierge, seems to be fit perfectly, but that's only because he so naturally unfunny.

I feel really bad for Monaghan, who does her best with her own charm to add a little sparkle to the romance part of the film. She probably would have had more fun in Akerman's role, though. Monaghan has already proved in films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Mission: Impossible III that she is far more talented than Akerman. But like Eddie, we're stuck with Akerman's Lila, and it's no fun at all.

DVD Features:
Featurettes including The Farrelly Brothers in the French Tradition, Ben & Jerry, plus something called The Heartbreak Halloween, another thing called The Egg Toss and bloopers.

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About Daniel J. Stasiewski