'The Breaker Upperers' (2018) Review: Making Exes Since. . .
By: Larissa Couto
Have you ever broken up with someone via text message? It can be a very painful way out, but what if you paid someone else to do it for you? Jen and Mel can end any relationship: if the price is right. The best friends have a successful business that doesn’t have a lot of competition. Their strategies to break up with unfortunate significant others vary from a song with a bitter break up message to dressing up as police officers and delivering some sad (false) news.
Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami have unquestioned chemistry in this goofy comedy. If the story seems clever in the beginning, it starts to run out of steam. The break ups aren’t the focus of the film: rather it’s on Jen and Mel’s comedy performances. Between small sketches the story of friendship passes by without actually delivering something captivating. However, The Breaker Upperers can be worth your time. They’ll make you laugh even if you don’t like goofiness. It’s cheap, forced humor at times, but their aptitude in using lap dances and 80’s music to get the laugh is not bad. They’re skilled comedians showing a somewhat unusual kind of comedy in films: goofy women. They’re good at creating goofy situations instead of simply making you laugh at them. The same doesn’t apply to stereotypes, though.
In the crowded “rom-com” genre on Netflix, this comedy brings something different to watch. But rom-com is not the best description for this movie. And don’t click “play” if you want something more like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants; it doesn’t scratch the heartwarming/drama itch that friendship pictures do. And here the main problem rests with: the characters. Comedies need to reveal good characters. The unexpected portion of a joke only works if the setup is good. In comedy movies the setup mostly deals with establishing the characters. The challenge with goofy characters is that they can potentially use anything to make you laugh. Anything that is “edgy” or completely nonsense is already
expected, making them even harder to laugh at: because the twist can never come. The Breaker Upperers fails in balancing goofiness with good supporting characters and a more well-developed narrative. The mean ex-girlfriend or the not-very-bright boyfriend are equally goofy or stereotypical, adding more of the same.
Although it’s a film that doesn’t stop you from wanting to check your phone, it’s smarter than many sketches we see on television. The one thing that needs to be highlighted with The Breaker Upperers is not the negative aspects of it, but rather the questionable ethics of the slightly twisted characters—if only Beek and Sami played it a bit more ironically.