Bobby and Peter Farrelly’s The Heartbreak Kid

More of a re-mix than a re-make of the Elaine May-directed 1972 original, Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s The Heartbreak Kid seeks to rekindle There’s Something About Mary‘s critical and box-office magic by casting Ben Stiller as a newlywed sporting goods salesman and newcomer Malin Akerman (a blonde Diaz ringer with long, loping legs and a wide open smile) as his errant bride. Leaving the Jew/Shiksa conundrum of the original behind, here Stiller’s Eddie Cantor marries the marquee goddess after a brief courtship, only to find she’s a bit of a mess in the fine print. On their disastrous Mexican honeymoon, he meets salt-of-the-earth southerner Miranda (Michelle Monaghan), clearly a superior option because—like Diaz in Mary—she likes sports, cracks jokes, and presumably lacks his wife’s unseemly sex drive. Misunderstandings, misbehaviors and the gloriously hit-and-miss upchuck humor of the Farrellys ensues. Some of the gags seem so desperate to shock that they’re just desperate, and the film ends about four times before it actually ends. The Heartbreak Kid is funniest when it leaves the body-humor behind for something truly subversive: a sequence of Eddie’s repeated attempts to cross the Mexico/U.S. border with a bunch of illegals and get back home is wicked, ticklish and inspired—all of the things the Farrellys should get home to themselves.

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