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June 05, 2006 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-06-05

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Monday
June 5, 2006
arts.michigandaily.com
artspage@michigandaily.com

ARle TSigan t

9

TOUGH 'BREAK'
MARQUEE STARS CAN'T SAVE
MUNDANE ROMANTIC COMEDY

By Imran Syed
Daily Arts Writer
Americans have developed a
reputation for being impersonal.
Whereas in Europe or Asia the act
of stopping a
native to ask
for directions The Break-Up
might result At the Showcase
in a friend- and Quality 16
ly chat, in Universal
America, all
too often, the
result is little more than a sus-
picious glare. And not just with
strangers do Americans refuse
to connect, the reputation goes,
but with those they're close too
as well - and nowhere is this
more apparent than in the failure
to vibe truly in spousal relation-
ships. Though it may be an unfair
accusation, the reputation exists,
and who better to challenge or at
least muse upon it than American
cinema?
It would seem that such mus-
ing is the purpose of "The Break-
Up," the onscreen lovechild of
Vince Vaughn ("Wedding Crash-
ers") and Jennifer Aniston (TV's
"Friends"). It features two strong,
independent people - Gary
and Brooke - in a relationship

that's at a linchpin: They've been
together for a while, it's been fun,
but now what? Gary believes he
does enough at work and should
be able to relax after coming
home. Brooke disagrees, pointing
out that she works just as hard at
her job but then comes home to
cook, clean and entertain guests.
Brooke wants Gary to do more
around the house - she wants
him to want to do more - but
he thinks that's insane, and soon
their love is no more.
You'd think the end of a rela-
tionship would weigh on their
minds, but Brooke and Gary
- and the film itself - see the
relationship as trivial. The real
question for all three is, who gets
to keep the condo they share and
who must move out? The resulting
happenstances are many and mun- "I wonder If she'll still let me touch her funny."
dane. Even with a Jason Bateman
cut directly out of his star role in once-eager audience. There isn't a Hollywood fare (think "When
TV's "Arrested Development," joke you don't see coming from a Harry Met Sally" or "You've Got
none of it works. And though the mile away, much less laugh at, nor Mail") focuses on the upside of
end is mildly inventive and oddly is it possible to connect with each the quirky, risk-taking male and
satisfying, it can't nearly cover for character's personal struggles. sweet nothings exchanged even as
the disaster it took to get there. You can't laugh at them, you can't the world seems sure to swallow
Because the film is co-written feel for them. In a film that wants up the hapless lovers, "The Break-
by Vaughn, you'd think, if noth- to sound familiar to the audience, Up" focuses on the superficiality
ing else, that at least he would fit what more is there? and inevitable banality of such a
well into his character. He doesn't, To say "The Break-Up" is romance.
and neither does Aniston. Both either a romance or comedy, The film does well in pointing
scream, whine and fire off cliched then, is misleading. The film out the peculiar superficialities
punchlines, yet gain nothing but is anti-romance in every sense. in the average romantic relation-
blank, confused stares from the Whereas the usual sentimental ship, but it deserves no credit

because its moment is short lived.
It challenges and ridicules the
very underpinnings of Hollywood
romances and our flawed societal
understanding of love, but then
suddenly goes on to embellish and
feed off of those very things. The
irony is neither comforting nor
is it rewarding - it only reflects
poorly on the script, the cast and
the director. The result is a half-
baked attempt at satire that is nei-
ther insightful nor entertaining,
but simply broken.

A few easy solutions to Ann Arbor's summer lull

By Andrew Klein
Managing Arts Editor
It's spring, almost summer, and you're
bored. Nobody is around anymore, so the
remaining few cram into yuppie Kerrytown
bars with the hope of creating timeless
memories or getting laid (or a combination
of the two).
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your hang-
over speaking. There is another way, another
path to summer splendor. The great culture
machine that calls itself Ann Arbor doesn't
sleep when the weather gets warm. But it is,
perhaps, a little more subdued.
If you ever heard of the Michigan Union
poetry slams during the school year, but won-
dered where it all went, then head over to The
Heidelburg this Tuesday for the Ann Arbor
Poetry Slam, which includes an open mic for
all you budding beatniks. It's only $5, and

if you still feel the need to imbibe, there are If jazz isn't your thing, then The Beatles He might have looked bored throughout
three bars in as many floors at the joint. must be (or you're just crazy). "A Hard Day's "The Da Vinci Code," but Tom Hanks's work
Night," originally released in 1964, will take in 1988's "Big" will remind you that the man
In that same poetic vein, next Wednesday you through a day in the iconic life of The used to churn out great movies. It goes up
at 7 p.m., Shaman Drum will host a Persian Beatles. It'll be at The Michigan Theater on June 19 at Ingalls Mall (in front of Rackham
poetry reading provided by David June 11 and 13. Don't wear your Building near Burton Memorial Tower) and
and Sabrineh Fideler. The two will Things to do this Stones shirt. is, to put it simply, free.
translate and perform traditional summer that
Sufi poetry, at times accompanied don't involve The Michigan Theater will for- For you artsy-fartsy types (hey, I'm one of
by various musical instruments. the destruction ever lead the charge in keeping old 'em), the University's Museum of Art will host
of your central favorites alive and kicking. "Hoop [this Thursday] internationally acclaimed pianist
Film - in all its shapes and nervous system. Dreams," Steve James's heavily Louis Nagel who is set to perform pieces by Bach,
sizes - is a regular in the heart lauded 1994 documentary follow- Beethoven and Liszt. Completely free, this event
and mind of Ann Arbor that isn't ing two inner-city Chicagoans in will be one of the last held in the UMMA before
limited to national blockbusters. "Barry Har- pursuit of the NBA dream, goes up June 15 it undergoes its upcoming massive renovation.
ris: The Spirit of Bebop" is showing tonight at 7:15 p.m, "Jaws," which needs no words of
at 7 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library. If explanation, will be shown on June 18 and 20 There you have it, folks. A digestible sam-
you have any notion of the words Dizzy Gil- as an installment of The Michigan Theater's pler of things to do that does not involve
lespie, Thelonius Monk or Charlie Parker (or Summer Classic Film Series. Alongside scar- drinking (unless you so desire, you lush).
even if you don't), this documentary, lasting ing the shit out of you, it will help us find And of course, there is plenty more where it
only 55 minutes, is a not only a must see, but comfort in the fact that we are hundreds of all came from. Take a girl, a guy, take you.
it also will cost you nothing. miles away from either ocean. Your liver (and soul) will thank you.

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