starring Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston, Joey Lauren Adams, Ann-Margret
screenplay by Jeremy Garelick & Jay Lavender
directed by Peyton Reed
by Walter Chaw Vince Vaughn can never seem sincere, only dazed and slack, making his proto-slob Gary in Peyton Reed's infernal The Break-Up an odd object of desire for art gallery receptionist Brooke--or he would be if Brooke weren't played by vanilla pudding Jennifer Aniston. The problem with the picture is that it's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (or the more-often-invoked Scenes from a Marriage)--with healthy doses of Swingers and The 40 Year Old Virgin to confuse the rancor--played by one-note actors who demonstrate not a soupçon of chemistry, thereby engendering zero rooting interest in their counterparts' reunion. (The fact that the two stars appear to have found love off camera regardless suggests the Proof of Life Effect for the anti-romcom set.) You have to respect a picture that sports at least three or four scenes straight out of Hell and has the good sense at one point to mention it in so many words, like when Brooke comes home to find Gary engaged in some weird bacchanal, the two exchanging a long wordless look across the wasteland as the world comes to an end. But there's so little presence demonstrated by either of the principals that the movie finally feels disconnected and inconsequential.