Starring: Ben Stiller, Malin Åkerman, Michelle Monaghan
Director: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
Running Time: 116 mins
The Heartbreak Kid is an American film about a man who, after years struggling to find the right person, meets and marries a beautiful woman. But once they leave for their honeymoon, he discovers that she’s a total nightmare.
With all the ingredients of a fairly generic Hollywood rom-com, The Heartbreak Kid doesn’t promise much. But, with brilliant performances, a fun story, laugh-out-loud humour and a perfect dose of genre cheese, it overdelivers on its potential, proving a massively entertaining watch from beginning to end.
There’s so much I loved about The Heartbreak Kid, but the place to start absolutely has to be the comedy. Most Hollywood rom-coms are painfully reliant on awkward gags, shrill characters and even toilet humour. The Heartbreak Kid, on the other hand, finds a perfect balance between that brand of fluffier humour and something a little more intelligent.
Along with the awkward reality Ben Stiller’s character finds himself in upon realising his new wife is unbearable to live with, The Heartbreak Kid finds a delightful sweet spot with surprisingly more engaging humour, asking you how far you would let someone push you before it was time to call it quits.
That question underpins the whole story, following Stiller’s difficult time balancing between sticking to his nightmare honeymoon and spending time with a woman he feels truly strongly for.
And it’s that which makes the film a far more engaging and layered watch than a typically generic blend of awkward gags and cheesy, cutesy genre tropes.
The other big plus here is the performances. Ben Stiller, Malina Åkerman and Michelle Monaghan are all fantastic throughout, with immense energy, passion and comedic chops, bringing further worth to a film that’s anything but a generic rom-com.
From Stiller’s blend of romantic passion and bewildered confusion in the story’s most chaotic moments to Åkerman’s hilariously exaggerated faults, there’s laughs and brilliant charisma on display from beginning to end.
Admittedly, as much fun as The Heartbreak Kid is, there are some moments of cheese that go just a little bit beyond what’s ideal, as well as a strange final joke that sort of undermines the entire two-hour story before it (or maybe I don’t have a good enough sense of humour).
But overall, The Heartbreak Kid is an enormously entertaining watch from beginning to end. With immense energy and charisma on display throughout, along with a fantastically funny sense of humour and a genuinely engaging story, it overcomes often painful rom-com genre tropes to deliver a hugely enjoyable watch throughout. And that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.