The Breakup

"The Breakup" is little Chicago-based romantic comedy which came out about the time the two leads were officially declared a two-some by the show-biz gossip rags. Neither Jennifer Aniston ("The Good Girl") nor Vince Vaughn ("Wedding Crashers") are known for their dramatic chops, but they don't embarrass themselves, either.

They are an engaged couple who jointly purchase a condominium, have a falling out (because he is an overgrown adolescent and she is a control freak), and come to grief over how to dispose of their jointly owned property. Neither of them is willing to move out, so this is sort of an odd couple, sharing space, with some major, unresolved issues.

He continues to swill beer, eat junk food, play video games, conduct tours for a local family-owned sightseeing enterprise, go bowling, and hang out with the boys. She eats healthy, works, cleans, and grieves. Of course, this is a romantic comedy, so we are pretty sure we know how it will end, but Vaughn's character does a commendable job of self-exam- ination, after one of his buddies finally tells him he is a selfish jerk.

I read a review that complained that he looked pudgy. Well, he did. If the reviewer had watched the film he/she would have noticed that that was part of the plot. After he is kicked off the bowling team and has to take a clear-eyed look at himself, he does a nice job of cleaning up his act, as does Aniston's character as she learns to adjust her expectations. The ending IS unexpected, but in my humble opinion, it doesn't hurt the movie a bit.

Worth a Netflix; NOT worth a ticket!

The Lake House

Here is one on my "Must-buy List." "The Lake House" is sappy enough to earn its poor reviews but in my opinion, has a nice sexual tension and story arc, so I liked it anyway. Plus, I really like Sandra Bullock ("Miss Congeniality" and "Infamous"), and I found Keanu Reeves ("Some- thing's Gotta Give" and "Parenthood") to be far more appealing than I've ever seen before. It features an ugly dog though....

The gist of this story is about a lonely doctor (Bullock) who moves into a unique house on a lake just outside the city where she works. Through the battered mailbox standing out front, she begins exchanging letters with its former resident (Reeves) who is a frustrated architect. Eventually they both figure out that they are separated by two years time but fall in love anyway.

Pay attention, because this little fantasy does make sense, but you can get off track if you aren't on top of it every moment. At least with the DVD you can go back and doublecheck the climactic hit-and-run accident, see how that ugly dog fits into both of their lives and understand why everyone should live happily ever after.