It's a pity that The Break-Up is being sold mostly on the are-they-or-aren't-they media furor around stars Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. The press around the film is trading heavily on Aniston's public perception as America's Sweetheart (with a top-seated, very public placement in the "Brokenhearted" division) and Vaughn's nifty, tabloid-ready story arc as the good-but-bad-boy who can help her live again. It's not just that this perception is coated in the thin, cold sheen of the clammy, whispered air of schoolyard gossip; it's also that it does disservice to a nicely-made, nicely executed romantic comedy with a strong script and great supporting cast. The Break-Up isn't going to go into the pantheon of romantic comedies alongside The Apartment or Annie Hall, but it deserves -- and earns the right -- to be seen as something, anything other than just more grist for the dark satanic mills of the gossip-industrial complex.
Brooke (Aniston) and Gary (Vaughn) meet cute within the first five minutes of The Break-Up; we spend the rest of the film watching them un-meet cute, squabbling and sharing as they both insist on occupying the same condo. Some will suggest that The Break-Up lacks realism; to this I can only say "Good." I do not wish to go into a theater in the summer and watch the reality of a relationship ending any more than I would want to go into a theater in the summer and watch the reality of a cruise ship turning upside down or the reality of South Seas piracy. Yes, The Break-Up is fake; but The Break-Up is funny, and it also has a surprisingly sincere heart.