“The Break-Up” is a sour surprise for anyone expecting a fluffy date-night confection. Gleefully peeling back the facade of a typical, blandly predictable Hollywood rom-com and brazenly wading into a splintering couple’s neuroses, director Peyton Reed and stars Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston perform a risky high-wire act to impressive effect.
By essentially rubbing the audience’s collective face in the brutal, messy emotional violence of a deteriorating relationship, “The Break-Up” charts choppy waters without really throwing viewers anything remotely resembling a life preserver; fleeting moments of black comedy alleviate the feel-bad vibes, but I was stunned that the filmmakers had enough conviction to see this tale through to its inevitable, bittersweet end.
The DVD delivers pristine picture and sound, with an assortment of worthwhile bonus features, including deleted scenes, an alternate ending and a pair of commentaries “ one Vaughniston style, one with Reed. Don’t judge this book by its cover; sold as lighthearted fun, but darker than any marketing exec would ever let on, “The Break-Up” is one of the year’s most underrated films and one of Tinseltown’s nastier bait-and-switches.