Loosely based on a screenplay by Upper West Side bard, Neil Simon, ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ follows the lovelorn antics of arch singleton Eddie Cantrow (Ben Stiller) and is the second film released this week (alongside ‘Control’) to deal with the hazards of getting married too quickly. At the insistence of his friends and family, Eddie puts his various commitment issues on hold and chooses to embark on a whirlwind romance with Lila (Malin Akerman), a kooky blonde he meets outside a laundromat. As quick as you can say, ‘Hang on, isn’t this ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’?’, they’re waltzing arm-in-arm down the aisle and headed for a life of wedded bliss. It’s en route to their honeymoon in Mexico, however, that the nightmare begins, as Lila – via a 180° change of character – decides to slowly reveal the details her sordid past.
On something of a lull after their lacklustre 2005 effort, ‘A Perfect Catch’, the strong opening 30 minutes of ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ suggest that the Farrelly brothers are aware of the fact that their patented brand of big heart/small brain comedy is being given a twenty-first-century overhaul by Judd Apatow and co. Alas, just as you think the directors have finally grown out of the fat/puke/piss gags, there they are, rolled out by the barrel-load. The film’s best moment by far comes from Eddie’s under-the-thumb buddy Mac (Rob Corddry), who advises that the key to a healthy marriage is to ‘plaster on a smile and wait patiently for the sweet embrace of death’.