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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Romance > The Break-Up (HD-DVD/DVD Combo Format)

The Break-Up (HD-DVD/DVD Combo Format)


Picture: B/B-     Sound: B/B-     Extras: C     Film: C



Unlike many couples who seem to go their separate ways after making a film, Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn continue to be an item in the celebrity-obsessed press since making the Vaughn-produced Peyton Reed comedy/drama The Break-Up (2006); a film we already have a theatrical review up for at this link:





Though there were a few laughs, I was not as impressed by the film as my fellow critic, especially with Vaughn repeating his Made (and Swingers?) character for the 15th or so time.  Vaughn is a better actor than this.  As for Aniston, since she is in reruns of Friends and the show is also on DVD all over the place, all she can do it play the same character over and over again.  Rumor Has It… (reviewed in all formats on this site) is actually a worse film overall, yet this is really not that much better.  Dressing slightly different is not an acting stretch either.


This time, the film is supposed to examine the lives (comically) of the couple and how the relationship disintegrates and can it recover.  The problem is that it never takes either character seriously enough to begin doing this and despite some odd chemistry between them, the world they inhabit is more about caricatures than real people.  As compared to a somewhat commercially similar comedy like The Devil Wears Prada, which has more energy and does any formula better, its repetitions are obvious.


Reed did the mixed Bring It On, then followed with the underrated Down With Love (http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/411/Down+With+Love) before dropping out of the Fantastic Four to do this.  He is a talented filmmaker, especially with the right material, but he is more of a hired hand here.  Sure, he makes this work better than the hands of most hacks working today would, but the Jeremy Garelick/Jay Lavender screenplay just does not have the guts to go all the way and settles for second best until the end.


Not that there was a lack of talent in front of the camera, including the great Ann-Margaret, a hilarious Judy Davis, Joey Lauren Adams, Cole Hauser, Jon Favreau and the ever-amazing Vincent D’Onofrio.  However, they are marginalized too much and though the film did some business for Reed’s sake at least, the film never reaches the heights it could have.


This Combo format disc has an HD-DVD side and DVD side.  The DVD side offers the film in anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 picture quality that has sometimes odd-looking color and some detail limits, something the 1080p digital High Definition HD-DVD side improves on somewhat, but only marginally.  Cinematographer Eric Edwards’s shooting is actually not bad and he is able to help Reed get some good and funny shots.  Unfortunately, it is not amazing, though the HD side is the better of the two.


The DVD side has Dolby Digital 5.1 and HD-DVD side Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, where the Plus side is the plus side, as the mix is just that much better.  However, the first noticeable difference between the theatrical sound and options on both sides are in the credits when the Queen classic You’re My Best Friend plays somewhat ironically to a series of stills of the couple as they first fall in love.  In the theater, I knew it was not from a multi-channel master just from the Queen DVD-Audio discs we have covered on the site before.  What was shocking is how much flatter and duller the song was on the two sides than in the theater.  What happened?  I’d love to know if the source was a CD, MP3 or what, but I bet it was two-channels.  Jon Brion’s score is not bad, especially considering the film.


Extras include the U-Control picture-in-picture function you can see as you watch the film, with a stills option exclusive to the HD-DVD format.  You also get outtakes, two audio commentary tracks, trailers for this and other Universal releases, a Vaughn/Favreau improv piece, alternate ending, extended scenes, 15 minutes of deleted scenes, tour of Chicago ala The Three Brothers company, making of featurette and Tone Rangers in action riding again.  It is a set of extras more interesting than expected, proving al the more how the film missed the mark.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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