The Heartbreak Kid / Dustin Rowles
Film Reviews | October 7, 2007 | Comments ()
Zombie fucking Christ. You know what? It’s one thing to inflict an awful movie on to the viewing public. Hell, I review a bad movie three out of every four weeks. I’m fine with that. It’s my lot. I’m not complaining. I watch movies for a living when I could be working at some two-bit law firm trying to work up a class-action suit against donut manufacturers for depriving us of an extra three ounces of doughy deliciousness that, “constitutionally,” we have a right to enjoy (the most common phrase you’ll ever hear as lawyer: “That’s my Constitutional right.” Yeah: Fuck you. Have you ever read the Constitution? Which amendment is it that says I have to listen you bitch about your chronic fatigue all day?)
Anyway, I’ve come to understand that most filmmakers don’t seem to know shit from an elbow in their ass (something you don’t need to be a critic to comprehend). The industry is no different from the post office — some mailmen bring you your mail on time, every day, while some of them shove it in their closet and watch “The View.” Likewise, laziness, incompetence, and plain stupidity are clearly not a disqualifiers in the industry. For every Marc Forster or Judd Apatow, there’s three Dennis Dugans, six Mark Helfrichs, and a Brett Ratner. I’m fine with that. Hell, occasionally, I even find some sick masochistic joy in cinematic asphyxiation because the release can be so powerful. Good Luck Chuck: Bring it on! Balls of Fury: Make another!! Benchwarmers: Make it a trilogy!!! Grandma’s Boy — well, I won’t go that far.
But, damn: The Heartbreak Kid? It’s just not fair. I didn’t sign up for this. I don’t mean to sound like the whiner I surely sound like right now, but nobody told me that I’d have to suffer that much. I didn’t just take a bullet — I just stood in the crossfire of a John Woo gunfight. This is what Tony Montana must have felt like at the end of Scarface, only I didn’t have a pile of blow to dull the pain. If anybody had warned me ahead of time, I would’ve taken a header off a balcony myself. I’m exhausted by the sheer mental will it took to stay awake. Because Heartbreak Kid isn’t just the worst film that Ben Stiller as ever made (and yeah, I’m including Duplex), it was two full hours of excruciating, prostate stabbing agony. It never ends. It just flaps around for hours like dead skin on the bottom of your foot. There’s an actual queef buried in the middle of this mess: And it’s the highlight of the entire film! Damn: I would’ve preferred 120 minutes of queefs to what I ultimately had to endure. Do I really have to listen to Jerry Stiller ask why his son doesn’t “crush enough pussy”? Does anyone actually think that “pussydick,” is an amusing insult? At what point, when Malin Ackerman is screaming, during a sex scene with Stiller, “Cock me! Cock me! Fuck me like a black man!” was I supposed to be enjoying myself? And those gems were the best parts of the movie. I yearned to see Ackerman’s pubic hair pop open like a Venus flytrap and reveal her massive “clit-ring” (seconds before she urinated on Stiller’s back) because at least I felt something, even if it was nausea. Because the other 7,131 seconds were nothing but raw, chafing tediousness, like waiting in a doctor’s office without the benefit of a six-month old copy of Popular Mechanics.
And one of the many, many things I hated about The Heartbreak Kid was one of the television spots I saw, proclaiming, “Finally, an R-rated comedy for adults.” Really? Really? Which adults, exactly, was this film aimed at? Because not even the pea-brained cretins would’ve found much enjoyment in it. It wasn’t a matter of high-brow comedy or lowbrow comedy, it was a matter a complete lack of any comedy at all (I mean, aside from the whole “pussy crushing” spiel, though to be fair, “snatch” was used interchangeably).
I won’t even mention that this is a remake of a 1972 film scripted by Neil Simon, because to even suggest there is a tenuous connection between this film and that one would make Neil Simon turn over in his grave (oh, he’s not dead? Well, wait until he sees this film.) The plot, however, is as such: Eddie (Ben Stiller), a single 40-year-old man with a toothache for a father (Jerry Stiller), meets Lila (Milan Ackerman). She runs into a trash can on her bike and he decides to marry her. They go to Cabo for a honeymoon. She blows guacamole, over-the-counter prescription medication, and soda out her nose and then begs him to pile drive her with his “pussy” (a frequently used word in the film) during lovemaking sessions before she gets sunburn and Carlos Mencia puts his dick in her hand (I wish I were lying). Meanwhile, while she’s laid up with severe skinmelt, he goes out and meets the real love of his life, Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), who counts her paycheck while delivering a series of banal lines that she doesn’t even bother listening to as they come out of her mouth (granted, she looks stunning doing so). After a classic misunderstanding, where she thinks that he’s a widow whose wife was killed with an ice pick, she falls for him because he tells this really great joke about the time he got anally raped on a baseball field when he was a kid (what a catch!). Miranda, of course, later learns that Eddie is married to Lila; Miranda gets mad; Lila pisses on Eddie’s back; Eddie grows a beard and sneaks across the Mexican border with hundreds of undocumented immigrants in the back of a 18-wheeler and … well, I wouldn’t want to give away the ending.
But, I will say this: The Farrelly brothers are done. Yeah — The Heartbreak Kid may swindle $20 million out of an unsuspecting public this weekend, but even those with a comedic threshold so low it’s buried beneath the Mariana trench will realize that Peter and Bobby are cooked. It’s no longer possible in a mainstream studio film to up the ante on gross-out humor — once a cat fucks the rotting remains of a dead grandmother at the dinner table (Date Movie), the ceiling has been hit, and what the Farrellys began 19 years ago has run its course. And when the Farrelly brothers actually attempt to awkwardly splice in a few gross-out gags into an otherwise straightforward and mercilessly dull romantic comedy, you know it’s time for those guys to pack it up and either find a new approach or an entirely different career. It’s never too late to go to law school, you know?
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife and son in Ithaca, New York. You may email him, or leave a comment below.