The Break-Up tells the story of the relationship of Gary (Mr. And Mrs. Smith’s Vince Vaughn) and Brooke (Friend’s Jennifer Aniston. As the film begins, we see Gary at a baseball game as he attempts to ask Brooke out on a date by endless asking her. The film skips forward roughly two years, to a point where Gary and Brooke are now a couple who are living together in a highly desirable condo. Gary is working as a Chicago tour guide with his brothers, while Brooke works at the Marilyn Dean Art Gall…ry. Everything seems to be going fine until a dinner with their respective families. Gary, feeling that Brooke is constantly asking too much of him, yells at Brooke, who feels that Gary never wants what she wants in life, leading to them breaking up (hence the title of the film).
Now that they’re ‘broken-up’, Gary and Brooke tend to play off each other doing little things to annoy each other. Gary is beaten up by Brooke’s brother while Brooke, on the other hand, votes Gary off of her bowling team. All these events occur, as Brooke tells us, in the hopes of getting Gary to change himself so he’ll get back with her. While this plot sounds kind of stupid, the real charm of this film is Vince Vaughn.
For some reason, I’ve always found Vaughn to be hilarious. Every film he stars in has typical characters that are made just that more interesting due to the performance Vaughn delivers. He creates these extremely funny sequences that you can’t help but laugh at. One of my favorite Vaughn line in this film was “Put those Ruffles back. Those are my Ruffles.” The line is just delivered with such a sense of seriousness in such a funny manner. Aniston as Brooke delivers a standard emotional performance. She is always there for Gary doing everything to make the relationship work, but Gary never seems to want to figure her out. Even though I do prefer Aniston’s more dramatic roles like in The Good Girl, she does what she can with the provided material.
Sure The Break-Up is not a fabulous film, but it also isn’t a completely horrible film either. The plot line is rather simplistic and normal, but the acting of Vaughn really gives this film and its characters a sense of meaning.
Presented in a 1080p VC-1 Encoded 1:85:1 widescreen aspect ratio, The Break-Up is a pretty impressive here.
The Chicago skyline looks great and vibrant via lush, clear blues and whites. Fleshtones, especially on the gorgeous faces of Vaughn and Aniston, look pristine. The darker areas, like the bar Gary visits, contain dark blacks that help to bring out the nightlife in Chicago. The club scene Gary and his brother visit plays host to an array of various colors, all of which look fine. The condo these two reside in is brought to life via numerous pale colors adding to the existing conflict that is unwrapping before us.
The only real problem I had with this transfer is a bit of grain here and there, particularly whenever the cast is in the condo setting (I suppose this is due to the pale colors that I mentioned). The white walls come off kind of splotchy and muddy almost creating a kind of lack of detail. Speaking of detail, besides this area, detail is actually quite nice here. We get all the little details of Chicago from the art galleries, to the older buildings. The night sequences also look especially nice.
Overall, The Break-Up video transfer reminds me of that found on Waist Deep, in that it isn’t a demo type film but it wasn’t created to be that type of experience either. If you go into this film not expecting a lot, as I did, you’ll probably come off pretty satisfied.
The standard English Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 with either Espanol or Francais options are available here. I was actually, similar to the video transfer, quite surprised at the audio here. I never expect comedic films to have a really full sound field or depth to them.
The film’s dialogue is crisp, clear and extremely easy to understand. The film’s score is relatively quiet given the film’s subject matter creating a real sense of emotion in the correct areas helping us to feel for the characters on screen. The only real time the film’s soundtrack gets loud is at the ‘Old 97 concert where the rock and roll music moves the sub a bit while the crowd screaming and shouting gives a nice balance to the film’s dynamic range. The constant bickering between our two characters never overwhelms one other (Vaughn’s deeper voice is clear while Aniston’s high pitched voice is equally as clear).
We can’t really expect a comedic type film to ever approach the levels of action film can we? Encoded a generous 1.5 mbps, The Break-Up sounds just as good as I expected a comedy to sound.
A nice surprise when I received this title was the fact that not only was this HD-DVD/DVD combo, but that fact that it had a few U-Control features.
- Picture-in-Picture: Here we get a little box that remains in the bottom right of the picture giving us, surprisingly I might add, a lot of information not found in the regular extras (I say this because a lot of the previous U-Control’s Picture in Picture had a majority of the content found in the extras on the disc).
- Production Photographs: This was quite the odd choice for U-Control here. The title basically explains the feature here as we get a lot of various photographs from the production sets. I would have rather seen live video instead of stills though.
- Alternate Ending/Deleted Scenes: The alternate ending presented here runs for about five minutes and features just about the same thing except Gary and Brooke have women/men in their lives. We also get to see a performance by The Tone Rangers. There is also commentary by Anniston, Vaughn or Reed here. As for the deleted scenes, we get about 8 minutes that are pretty funny, especially the scene in the club with Gary explaining the ‘clinking’ of glasses.
- Improve with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau: Here we get twenty-one minutes that is funny for a majority of the time length, but feels like it runs a bit too long as they tend to basically repeat the scene.
- Audio Commentary with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston: Aniston and Vaughn join each other here and the end result is quite a professional experience. Both never allude to their constant tabloid appearances instead focusing on solely on the characters they portrayed in the film, not outside of the film. Considering that I find Vaughn to be quite the funny actor, it was nice that spoke a lot here but I felt he could have let Aniston chime in a bit more. If you’re very interested in the film or these stars, the commentary might be worth a listen.
- Audio Commentary with Director Peyton Reed: As expected, Director Peyton Reed’s provided commentary track contains more information. Topics include production ideas and the endless praising of all involved in his project. While I found it interesting that Reed was given his own audio as most directors are, did we really need two tracks here?
- Three Brothers: A Tour of Chicago: Here we get a remote-operated look through the film’s various locales.
- The Tone Rangers: This features Richard, the supposed gay acapella singer doing his stuff.
While I was surprised by the film and it’s quality, the video is not as good as we might expect from most High-Definition content. The audio is somewhat better than the video, and the extras, especially the nice U-Control feature, make this package a recommended rental.
Special Features List
- U-Control Picture-in-Picture
- Production Photographs
- Alternate Ending/Deleted Scenes
- Improve with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau
- Audio Commentary with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston
- Audio Commentary with Director Peyton Reed
- Three Brothers: A Tour of Chicago
- The Tone Rangers