XL Popcorn – The Heartbreak Kid

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 814/1007Title: The Heartbreak Kid
Director: Elaine May
Year: 1972
Country: USA

Comedies are in short supply in the remaining films on the 1001 list, so I have been keeping this particular film in reserve for a while. I saw the Ben Stiller remake a long time ago so didn’t hold up too much hope for this one, but given that the UK is now in the beginning of the three week lockdown because of coronavirus (who knows it might go on for longer) it felt like the right time to roll out a comedy.

Just to get the first thing out of the way – this is a whole heap better than the rename. That is probably an obvious point to make, but it is one worth making. I guess it made sense to remake this as, for the time, it felt a bit ahead of its time in terms of being a dark romantic comedy. A very New York Jewish dark romantic comedy at that, which answers the question of what if you get married too fast and find someone you are instantly besotted with on your honeymoon.

The film itself takes a while to get going, but then again it needs to. After all, not only did we need to set up reasons why you may want to get a divorce from your new bride, but also to set up the kind of guy who would divorce his wife on day five of the honeymoon in order to pursue a younger woman. This is the kind of film where no one is particularly likeable, but there are still very much people who do not deserve the lot they are given.

At times this is laugh out loud funny and, considering the time, it’s excellent to see a film like this being directed by a woman and be successful at the Oscars. Considering that Elaine May, herself a comedian, directed this without starring in it I am now keen to see her in action as she directs herself. So, I guess I need to track down A New Leaf at some point.

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