Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Heartbreak Kid--my heartbreak

I just checked the box office figures for the weekend and saw that The Heartbreak Kid tanked big time. I like Ben Stiller but I'm glad this one went down the tubes.

I have a special fondness for the original Kid. It may well be Neil Simon's finest script and Charles Grodin's best performance. It is both of them as their bittersweet best.

It's nuanced. It's about self-delusion, selfishness, lust, love and...heartbreak. Not a single gun is fired; not a single car is crashed.

I've seen two trailers for the new version. In one of them Stiller is jumping out of a box car. And in another there are two cuts that look like the Stooges on a bad day.

I know I rant about remakes but this one's got to be close to the bottom.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I agree with you heartily. The originally perfectly encapsulated the times. Grodin was indefensible in discarding his wife so easily, but funny, real and understandable. Ben Stiller always seems nasty and predatory--especially in terms of making money by doing bad movies. His only decent movie was Flirting with Disaster.

Gonzalo B said...

I don't think just any of the new startlets could reprise Cybill Shepherd's elegant Lolita-style performance on the original film. The remake's trailer made it seem like the tpyical Ben Stiller comedy, a mixture of America's Funniest Home Video bloopers and the same old raunchy jokes about bodily fluids. I wonder why they even bothered calling this a remake -and, I presume, shelling out money for the rights and royalties- when it doesn't have much to do with the original. Plus, I imagine it has no name recognition among the younger crowds.

Dave Zeltserman said...

The first one which is one of my favorite movies was based on a Bruce Jay Friedman short story and had Elaine May directing, so how it be anything but great?

The most ill-conceived remake was probably "To Be or Not to Be". What was Mel Brooks thinking? Still waiting for some Hollywood genius to try to remake "The Godfather".

Anonymous said...

Oh, Dave, the latter-day TO BE OR NOT TO BE is a work of affectionate vulgarizing; the "remakes" of PSYCHO and THE HAUNTING were literally and figuratively masturbatory exercises in contempt. The LOST HORIZON musical pretty impressively an attempt at affectionate update gone much more horribly wrong.