The Heartbreak Kid

Director: Elaine May

Screenwriter Neil Simon adapted Bruce Jay Friedman’s story about a newlywed who meets the girl of his dreams while on his honeymoon in this sardonic work that seems to provide a much darker echo to the most famous film from director Elaine May’s former comedy partner Mike Nichols—- The Graduate. Like The Graduate, The Heartbreak Kid also remains painfully honest in its portrayal of twenty-somethings struggling to figure out just what they want out of life. Charles Grodin is excellent as the leading man whose expressions seem to reveal more about his character than Simon’s trademark dialogue but May’s daughter Jeannie Berlin immediately commands the audience’s attention with her portrayal as the shrill “bridezilla” who sends Grodin running into the arms of blonde, beautiful University of Minnesota college student Cybill Shepherd. It’s funny, harsh, surprising and incredibly anti-romantic, making the piece stand out from the crowd of stereotypical women’s movies that always end with a beautiful wedding. May’s film is indeed book-ended by weddings and she dares to point out that the couple’s ever after may not always be happy… and in the case of this film, it can be downright ugly, uncomfortable but luckily for the audience, filled with genuine laughter.