Released: 26th July
Seen: 29th July
Mel (Played by Madeline Sami) and Jen (Played by Jackie van Beek) don’t have your average job. Together they run a very special little company called The Breaker Upperers where, for a reasonable fee, they will ‘help’ couples break up. They can do this by pretending to be pregnant mistresses, pretending to kidnap the person who hired them or even pretend to be cops and say the person that hired them went missing. For a while, their job seems to be working out for them, until Melissa begins to realise the harm they cause. Slowly they are forced to grow up, to realise just what their job does to people and if they’re willing to live with that.
Without a doubt, this is one of the funniest films I’ve seen this year, hands down. The poster said the word “Hilarious” about eight times and I don’t think that’s enough. The jokes come thick and fast, and they all feel like they suit the characters perfectly. Madeline Sami and Jackie van Beek wrote an incredible script that breezes along and gets a lot of great belly laughs out. Scenarios like the two leads sneaking into a police station to keep up a ruse are brilliantly done and never feel forced, they just created a set of characters who would think they could get away with that and it works. Even the side characters are well rounded and funny, Jordan (Played by James Rolleston) is possibly the most precious character who deserves to be protected at all costs… and probably needs to be because he is a little bit dense. He’s also charming so his scenes and his impossibly perky attitude get some good cackles out, especially when he’s trying to deal with Sepa (Played by Ana Scotney), the woman that he tries to break up with. Sepa is also just a brilliant character, intimidating and clearly a lot to deal with but she has some of the best moments. She can destroy a person with a single withering look and I love it.
Visually the film knows just how to shoot a joke to enhance it just right, it doesn’t try anything too out there. It shoots the joke and shoots it well, knowing when to show someone’s reaction and when to hold back. The one scene that really does push beyond what one might normally expect for this kind of movie is a brilliant little Karaoke music video that also fills us in on some important backstory. One of the hardest things to do is to give backstory without it sounding like pure exposition but this film does it wonderfully thanks to the way that it’s filmed. What could’ve been a very silly sidetrack in an already silly scene ends up explaining the origin of a friendship and how it’s built on something that neither of our leads has moved on from. Most of the time the film is a standard comedy movie, in terms of its visuals, but it knows when to break from that and did it really well.
I also appreciate that this movie had an openly bisexual character in the form of Melanie, it’s a detail that they didn’t need to put in there but it’s nice to see some representation. They also have other characters among the LGBT community and they’re handled well, the jokes aren’t about their sexuality but just about some of them being bad people in general. I just wanted to point this out because I feel like other film writers could take note of how insanely easy it is to make a bisexual character one of the leads or to have LGBT characters as part of the story. They do it here wonderfully, so maybe other directors/writers could take a few notes.
Simply put, this is a good fun movie with a great script and some great acting. It’s a wonderful New Zealand comedy that you should absolutely see if it’s anywhere near you. You’ll have a good time… not sure if it’d be a good date movie though.
There is an after credit’s scene, by the way, it just ties up a tiny story moment that is pretty cute and got a chuckle. It’s not essential, but if you’re there already you might as well stick around for a bit.