When you think of R-rated adult comedies, you tend to consider the classics: “Harold and Kumar,” “American Pie” and “There’s Something About Mary.” The appeal of these laugh-out-loud adult films are what the Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter, were trying to recreate when remaking Neil Simon’s “The Heartbreak Kid.” They fell surprisingly short, however.
Ben Stiller stars as Eddie Cantrow, a middle-aged man who wonders where his life went wrong after he attends an ex-girlfiriend’s wedding — alone. Despite his professional success, he considers himself a social failure. To top off his already depressing existence, Eddie has to put up with his sex-crazed father (played by real-life father Jerry Stiller) who is constantly pressuring him into a life he is not ready for.
After meeting what seems to be the perfect girl, Eddie decides to take the plunge and propose. The two lovebirds set out on a romantic honeymoon road trip to Mexico. But his new bride Lila (Malin Akerman) soon shows her true self through her constant out-of-tune singing in the car and her uncontrollably spastic mood swings. Eddie immediately realizes he has made a terrible mistake and wishes he didn’t follow the advice of his elderly father.
Then, in predictable Hollywood fashion, Eddie meets the real woman of his dreams, Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), and soon befriends her “redneck” family. The group spends the week drinking and exchanging stories that are supposed to be funny but just seem to miss the mark. To add to the horrible gross-out comedy, audiences are subjected to tasteless jokes about Mexicans sneaking across the border and speaking English with bad accents.
Not only do many of the jokes fall flat, but at times the film is just too raunchy. The countless vulgar scenes seem unnecessary and do little to help the story along. Some highlights of the film, however, are the performances from the co-stars. They are all strong actors who seem to have natural chemistry with one another, and they deliver fairly strong performances in spite of the film’s weak script.
The misguided direction of the film also leaves much to be desired. Despite their best efforts, the Farrelly brothers just aren’t able to recreate the magic of “There’s Something About Mary.” Ben Stiller’s character also seems a bit tired. This is a character we have seen from Stiller in countless films, including “Along Came Polly” and “Meet the Fockers.” He doesn’t even try to put any depth into his character and is not relatable to his audience in the slightest way. Once again, goofy Stiller adds nothing to the film except his name.
Rather than thinking outside the box, the Farrelly brothers just follow their formula of sex jokes and a lackluster plot. This is also apparent in Ben Stiller’s love interest, who bares a striking resemblance to Cameron Diaz, Stiller’s love interest in their 1998 box office hit.
The movie will leave people asking “When is this going to end?” The unbearable movie seems about a half hour too long and has an ending that is far from satisfying. Even an incredibly random cameo from Eva Longoria could not salvage the film.
“The Heartbreak Kid” will leave audiences feeling just that — heartbroken.
“The Heartbreak Kid” was written by Scot Armstrong, Kevin Barnett, Leslie Dixon and Bobby and Peter Farrelly and directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly.
“The Heartbreak Kid” received one out of four stars.