More than most other kinds of films, comedies tend to be very emblematic of the time in which they’re made. You can very easily tell the mindset of the culture by watching the comedies made during that period, and that was particularly evident while I was watching The Heartbreak Kid, a darkly comic look at marriage and what it can take before it might snap. This is an early 70s film if there ever was one, and given the film’s content and material, I’m not sure I like what that says about that particular decade, but it is definitely very telling about it, that’s for sure.
As it seems befitting for a comedy on the list, this one’s all about adultery. Lenny has just gotten married to a simple, predictable wife named Lila, and they head to Miami for their honeymoon. There, after Lila gets sunburned and is forced to spend the rest of her time in the hotel room, Lenny meets Kelly, a vibrant young woman who seems to fulfill all of Lenny’s wishes and desires for a woman. So what does he do? If the worst case scenario pops into your head, short of just sleeping with her, your assumptions are pretty much right on the mark. The whole film is a giant mess of awkwardness, and it shoots for that awkward target in damn near every scene. The difference between a film like this, though, and a film like Bridesmaids, is that this is deemed a “dark comedy”, which basically means there really is no real comedy; it’s just awkwardness, and as I pointed out in my Bridesmaids review, it can get damn near unbearable to watch most of the time, especially here when you consider that we’re supposed to be empathizing with someone who meets a hot young thing and immediately wants to separate from his wife and run off with her. It’s a particularly repugnant notion, and again, I can understand that the uncomfortable feeling we get watching this film is exactly the point, but boy does this ever milk it out of us.
The ending of this film really came out of left field, taking me aback a little bit, and I’m not quite sure it serviced the story properly. I was expecting a slightly different ending, and I was a little amazed that it didn’t come into play. But regardless, this was a really hard watch for me, almost entirely because of the content, and not at all because of the film. It was well made, but that’s about it; the standout features are the story, and maybe the acting (especially from the supporting players). I know a few people who won’t be able to watch this one, or take it seriously, just because of the subject matter it deals with, but if that sort of thing doesn’t affect you as much (and I didn’t think it would me, but there we have it), you won’t need to go scrambling for the remote should this come on TV sometime. But neither do you need to go out looking for this one either.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10