‘Kid’ takes a light look at romance

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‘Kid’ takes a light look at romance

At times, I feel like watching a comedy just to kill time, no matter how bad the reviews are. Once I lower my expectations, I am less likely to be disappointed by what I see.

If you are like me, I recommend watching “The Heartbreak Kid,” remade in 2007 by the Farrelly brothers. Even though the original Heartbreak Kid (1972), directed by Elaine May and written by Neil Simon, was received favorably, this new movie is a stereotypical romantic comedy with nasty humor that requires little deep thinking.

The plot is not the problem. It deals with a very comic situation. A man named Eddie (Ben Stiller), aged 40, gets married in a rush six weeks after meeting his bride. Eddie finds out it was a huge mistake on the way to his honeymoon, when he falls in love with another woman.

Don’t get him wrong. Eddie is not a player who easily falls in love and gets married without scruples. Actually, Eddie’s never been married and is afraid of commitment because he has no model of a happily married couple. His best friend Mac (Rob Corddry) was henpecked by a scary wife. His father Doc (Jerry Stiller) is, to be honest, no marriage material, spending his time instead with a an enormous-breasted woman at a spa in Las Vegas.

However, Eddie happens to meet a girl named Lila (Malin Akerman) after saving her from a robber, who turns out to be her ex-boyfriend. A career as an environmental researcher helps Lila seem intelligent, and that, plus her beauty, are enough to make Eddie pursue marriage. What’s more, he feels touched when Lila insists they should not sleep together until they’re married.

Yet, all of sudden, this movie implausibly creates a picture of Lila as a monstrous, weird woman as soon as the newlyweds are on their way to their honeymoon in Mexico. Eddie feels something is going wrong as he discovers Lila’s other side in the car.

The weirder Lila becomes, the more justified Eddie’s cheating on the honeymoon becomes. But, the process of revealing Lila’s true colors is too unrealistic to swallow smoothly. Actually, all the main characters in this movie are so contrived that it’s hard to get to know who they really are. Then there’s the fact that the minor characters, like the Mexican extortionist with an exaggerated accent, are so stereotypical that they make us ill.

Obviously, there is no “why” in The Heartbreak Kid. Nonsensical laughs lasting over an hour can be torture for audiences who are actually asking the reasons for why things happen. But the movie can be funny for audiences who are not very curious. Anyway, it’s obvious this movie isn’t hiding anything behind the laughs.

By Choi Jeong-in Contributing Writer [estyle@joongang.co.kr]
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