You might be tempted to feel a little pity for the Farrelly Brothers; they defined the big-box-office smutty comedy with movies like There's Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber and Kingpin. Recently, they've sort of had their thunder (and box office) stolen by Judd Apatow's band of merrymakers and the success of Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But that mild temptation to feel pity turns into a more steely impetus to feel contempt after you witness the squalid, lumbering mess that is The Heartbreak Kid, the Farrelly's latest effort to regain their toilet-throne as the kings of the gross-out comedy. Originally released in 1972, The Heartbreak Kid saw Neil Simon adapting Bruce Jay Friedman's short story A Change of Plan, with direction by Elaine May. The idea is simple -- a man, while on his honeymoon, meets and falls for another woman. The execution in the 1972 film was elegant, astute and smart: A comedy of manners about the mores and meanings of modern marriage, springing from the minds of three clever, talented comedians who knew how to go for the jugular and still had the sense to back off and let us breathe a little.
I only mention this in order to contrast it with the 2007 update, which is inelegant, oblivious and crass: A 'comedy' of rudeness about the mindlessness and meaningless of modern moviemaking, spring from the gonads and bowels of two dim, untalented filmmakers who only know how to cross the line and lack any sense whatsoever. In this iteration of The Heartbreak Kid, our hero is a San Francisco sporting goods store owner played by Ben Stiller. He's been commitment-phobic for so long that he may in fact be commitment-proof, which is weighing heavy on his mind after the Valentine's Day wedding of a woman he was once engaged to. On his way home, though, he has a meet-cute with a surprisingly vivacious and charming woman, Malin Akerman; they fall into a whirlwind courtship, but the news that her work wants to send her to Rotterdam a few weeks into their relationship inspires Stiller to make a leap of faith and propose. The wedding follows soon after.