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The Heartbreak Kid


ElCid
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Watched this last night after watching Midnight Run.  

Spoiler Alert!

A real let down and stayed with it hoping it would get better.  Like Neil Simon's movies, but this one just seemed to wander around.

What was the point of the ending?  Did it foretell of Charles Grodin deciding he didn't want to be married to Cybil Shepherd either?  That he was a total screw up?  And nobody could be as dumb as the Jeannie Berlin character.

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I never did see this movie...

 

I heard a lot of positive "buzz" about it when it came out, but I also, from friends whose taste I trust, heard it wasn't all that good.

 

And, over the years, it always seems to hit the air at times I can't get a chance to watch it and see for myself!

 

 

Sepiatone

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I am still processing this movie. I know that my tendency is to give it a harsh review because what I didn't like about it I really didn't like. LOL But there was a lot I did like. It's a mixed bag of a movie, and I know she has her admirers, but there is probably a reason Elaine May only wound up directing four features. She's a cult director in the cult-y-est sense of the word.

 

Also, I suspect that you have to be Jewish, part Jewish, or non anti-semitic to appreciate THE HEARTBREAK KID. By the way, I think this title would have worked better for a John Hughes teen flick in the 80s.

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Watched this last night after watching Midnight Run.  

Spoiler Alert!

A real let down and stayed with it hoping it would get better.  Like Neil Simon's movies, but this one just seemed to wander around.

What was the point of the ending?  Did it foretell of Charles Grodin deciding he didn't want to be married to Cybil Shepherd either?  That he was a total screw up?  And nobody could be as dumb as the Jeannie Berlin character.

Eddie Albert steals the film........Good film, but a bit of a jump from Grodin turning down Albert's increasing offers of money to disappear, and then the wedding scene. Why do you think it implied that he didn't want to be married to Shepherd?

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I remember seeing this movie when it first came out, and it always stuck with me. I rewatched it last night for the first time in decades, and I think my first impression as a teen is stil pretty much my impression now. Charles Grodin plays a totally selfish person who - unlike most of us -  acts on every selfish impulse. He tries to kid himself into thinking he is a good unselfish person by giving his cast-off first wife all of the wedding presents and his car when the gash he's given her self esteem - telling her he wants a divorce after less than one week into a marriage and honeymoon, most of which he has spent with Cybil  Shepard - is something that will likely never heal. Being older and a step-parent myself now, I could really relate to Eddie Albert's character. He can smell Grodin's loopiness from a mile away, but how do you protect an adult daughter from a terrible fate - getting hooked up with someone like Grodin's character - that only time and wisdom can teach you to avoid. She doesn't have that wisdom yet.

 

 I always thought the second wedding scene looking like the first is basically saying that Grodin's character is going to go through life ruining other people's lives because he wants what he wants when he wants it, and worse, he will always convince himself he is not a bad guy when he walks all over people to get what he wants.

 

Just my take.

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I remember seeing this movie when it first came out, and it always stuck with me. I rewatched it last night for the first time in decades, and I think my first impression as a teen is stil pretty much my impression now. Charles Grodin plays a totally selfish person who - unlike most of us -  acts on every selfish impulse. He tries to kid himself into thinking he is a good unselfish person by giving his cast-off first wife all of the wedding presents and his car when the gash he's given her self esteem - telling her he wants a divorce after less than one week into a marriage and honeymoon, most of which he has spent with Cybil  Shepard - is something that will likely never heal. Being older and a step-parent myself now, I could really relate to Eddie Albert's character. He can smell Grodin's loopiness from a mile away, but how do you protect an adult daughter from a terrible fate - getting hooked up with someone like Grodin's character - that only time and wisdom can teach you to avoid. She doesn't have that wisdom yet.

 

 I always thought the second wedding scene looking like the first is basically saying that Grodin's character is going to go through life ruining other people's lives because he wants what he wants when he wants it, and worse, he will always convince himself he is not a bad guy when he walks all over people to get what he wants.

 

Just my take.

Even though the film is pretty funny, I DO find Grodin's character to be not only unsympathetic, but full of it. Interesting that it was director Elaine May's daughter that played the role of the jilted spouse. 

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 Why do you think it implied that he didn't want to be married to Shepherd?

Guilt! he couldn't get through the entire film without facing the truth that he was a selfish and cruel stootz.

I mean really. telling a poor young woman with severe sunburn that their honeymoon is a bust.

Grodin sympathetic? this is the guy who would get stepped on by king kong. :lol:

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Grodin's character is going to go through life ruining other people's lives because he wants what he wants when he wants it, and worse, he will always convince himself he is not a bad guy when he walks all over people to get what he wants.

 

I believe it was Bette Davis who said that a villain is not a villain to himself.

 

Considering when this movie was made - social standards had not as yet completely turned, and many of the traditions were still being followed - the lesson could be: getting married so that you can (finally) have sex is not that good an idea.

 

Once the temptation that has been blocking your vision has been cleared away, you may find yourself in a situation that is suddenly unappealing to you. Even before Cybill has entered the picture, it is quite apparent that Grodin is in a state of regret. Once the drop-dead gorgeous Cybill thrusts herself before him..... well, let's face it - there's not a man alive who doesn't understand EXACTLY why he WANTS to undo what he's done and pursue a far more attractive possibility.

 

Myself, I'd probably have committed suicide.

 

I've heard it said that this movie is "very Jewish". Not being Jewish, I'm not sure about that. But there does seem to be some recognizable similarities between this character and other young Jewish men in writings from that era.

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"Critics loved the film, with The New York Times' Vincent Canby calling it "very, very funny, totally unsentimental and just a bit cruel," and Thomas Meehan of The Saturday Review deeming it "a triumph of New York Jewish humor." The New Yorker's Pauline Kael raved, "Elaine May has the rarest kind of comic gift: the ability to create a world seen comically," and The Hollywood Reporter reckoned it "one of the year's funniest, most intelligent movies.... Humor flows effortlessly from the rhythmic dialogue; explosions of laughter appear, as if by magic, from situations rather than from obvious one-line jokes... Charles Grodin, in his first major film role, is exactly right... Jeannie Berlin is breathtakingly comic, honest and poignant... Her performance puts pain and comedy on the line."

There were some complaints about the abrupt ending. May had filmed an extended coda in which Grodin and Shepherd sail off on their own honeymoon, only for Grodin to start becoming irritated by his new wife's habits all over again, but for some reason this sequence was discarded.

Academy Award nominations went to Jeannie Berlin and veteran actor Eddie Albert, who steals his scenes as Shepherd's father."

 

-from TCM's article.

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I enjoyed the jewishness anf the cast of thid here flick, but was also a bit confused by the ending, as TheCid was. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who didn't get it. I wish they had included that ending mr666 mentioned but maybe Elaine May didn't want the dnding to be that obvious. Now I see that the ending was meant to imply that he was going to run out on her as well.

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I enjoyed the jewishness anf the cast of thid here flick, but was also a bit confused by the ending, as TheCid was. I'm glad I wasn't the only one who didn't get it. I wish they had included that ending mr666 mentioned but maybe Elaine May didn't want the ending to be that obvious. Now I see that the ending was meant to imply that he was going to run out on her as well.

And I would say the fact the Burt Bacharach song is used again at the end, during the wedding reception, implies that he might (horror of horrors) actually miss his first wife. I think we can assume he does not stay with the blonde.

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I believe it was Bette Davis who said that a villain is not a villain to himself.

 

Considering when this movie was made - social standards had not as yet completely turned, and many of the traditions were still being followed - the lesson could be: getting married so that you can (finally) have sex is not that good an idea.

 

Once the temptation that has been blocking your vision has been cleared away, you may find yourself in a situation that is suddenly unappealing to you. Even before Cybill has entered the picture, it is quite apparent that Grodin is in a state of regret. Once the drop-dead gorgeous Cybill thrusts herself before him..... well, let's face it - there's not a man alive who doesn't understand EXACTLY why he WANTS to undo what he's done and pursue a far more attractive possibility.

 

Myself, I'd probably have committed suicide.

 

I've heard it said that this movie is "very Jewish". Not being Jewish, I'm not sure about that. But there does seem to be some recognizable similarities between this character and other young Jewish men in writings from that era.

Grodin's character is supposed to be very Jewish, but he had just spent 3 years in the Army. Any self-respecting member of the tribe would have gotten into the reserves, got himself classified 4-F, or gotten a teacher's deferment.

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Grodin's character is supposed to be very Jewish, but he had just spent 3 years in the Army. Any self-respecting member of the tribe would have gotten into the reserves, got himself classified 4-F, or gotten a teacher's deferment.

 

I guess you were trying to be funny, but I knew plenty of Jews who were in the military, just like Grodin in the movie.  Most of them were from New York, and the funniest people I ever knew.  I hope I didn't see racism in that post.  I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and consider that you were just being clever.

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Eddie Albert has never been better.  Or maybe he has, but if so I don't remember.

 

I'd forgotten how ravishing Cybill Shepherd was, and perfect in that role.

 

I worship at the shrine Eddie Albert created during his working life.  That man was so amazingly good he leaves me (nearly) speechless.  Nobody was ever so versatile or good-naturedly skillful.  And what a nice person he was in his life.  I remember so well hearing his reply to an acquaintance who commiserated with him over having to entertain an elderly aunt in his house when she was ill.  He said, "It's an honor and a privilege to have her with us."  What a guy.  What a guy.

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I never did see this movie...

 

I heard a lot of positive "buzz" about it when it came out, but I also, from friends whose taste I trust, heard it wasn't all that good.

 

And, over the years, it always seems to hit the air at times I can't get a chance to watch it and see for myself!

 

 

Sepiatone

 

You've missed the scene of a lifetime with Grodin, Eddie Albert and Audra Lindley.  It's Eddie's speech, but her reactions are priceless.  Eddie's last line, which was something like "You **** newlywed!", left me nearly paralyzed with laughter.  I found the whole picture odd but really funny.  I could picture someone as bonkers as Grodin was doing the things he did without a twinge of conscience.

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I remember seeing this movie when it first came out, and it always stuck with me. I rewatched it last night for the first time in decades, and I think my first impression as a teen is stil pretty much my impression now. Charles Grodin plays a totally selfish person who - unlike most of us -  acts on every selfish impulse. He tries to kid himself into thinking he is a good unselfish person by giving his cast-off first wife all of the wedding presents and his car when the gash he's given her self esteem - telling her he wants a divorce after less than one week into a marriage and honeymoon, most of which he has spent with Cybil  Shepard - is something that will likely never heal. Being older and a step-parent myself now, I could really relate to Eddie Albert's character. He can smell Grodin's loopiness from a mile away, but how do you protect an adult daughter from a terrible fate - getting hooked up with someone like Grodin's character - that only time and wisdom can teach you to avoid. She doesn't have that wisdom yet.

 

 I always thought the second wedding scene looking like the first is basically saying that Grodin's character is going to go through life ruining other people's lives because he wants what he wants when he wants it, and worse, he will always convince himself he is not a bad guy when he walks all over people to get what he wants.

 

Just my take.

 

 

This is such a good review.  It says exactly what I thought about the movie when I first saw it.  You're right on the money.  The ending was always a problem for the people I knew who didn't like it, and I thought it was exactly right. 

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I also love, love, love Eddie Albert, though especially in TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON and ROMAN HOLIDAY. I agree that he stole THE HEARTBREAK KID

And I would say the fact the Burt Bacharach song is used again at the end, during the wedding reception, implies that he might (horror of horrors) actually miss his first wife. I think we can assume he does not stay with the blonde.

Yeah, see, that's why I was confused-- I wasn't sure if the ending was implying that he regretted leaving wife #1 or that he just regretted getting married again and was going to leave her too. Whichever ending was the intention completely changes the movie to me.

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Mr666 said

 

May had filmed an extended coda in which Grodin and Shepherd sail off on their own honeymoon, only for Grodin to start becoming irritated by his new wife's habits all over again, but for some reason this sequence was discarded.

 

Well that confirms what I had long suspected.

 

First saw this film at the theatre in 1972.

 

Found it entertaining then, and still do! Not exactly sure why,...

Charles Grodin plays such an unlikable, self-interested character

 

But, I suppose, inspite of myself, I related to him...

 

Have you ever thought you wanted something so badly, that you obsessively devoted a lot of time and energy to get it?

Then, after you finally have your prize in hand, it somehow no longer seems worth the energy you spent in acquiring it?

 

The grass often appears to be greener in somebody elses back yard, but we sometimes don't stop to consider that a lot of time, sweat, and dirty work, may have been required to get it to appear that way.

 

Lenny Cantrow is a singleminded, self-absorbed, obessive character, who hasn't yet grown up.

He thinks he wants Lila, and unthinkingly will even marry her to have her. But without any forethought, and not really knowing her, her habits begin to repulse him once she is his wife.

 

Then, he sees Kelly, who also behaves like a selfish child.

But she is a WASP, and beautiful, and plays with him. She appears to be everything he never thought he could have, and he thinks she is seriously interested in him.

So, like a child, he drops the "toy" in his hands, and reaches out to grab her. Again, only thinking in the present, without any forethought beyond having her.

Like a horse with blinders on he remains focused only on his goal, "He must have Kelly," at any cost.

 

In a way, his dogged tenacity is admirable. And Kelly, at least, becomes impressed by it.

After-all, she is the object of his desire, and I'm sure it kind of thrilled her a bit to think that she could break-up a "marriage" with her feminine wiles. And, Lenny begins to remind her of her father with his doggedness and overwhelming self-confidence. Being a "daddy's girl" this attracts her to him all the more, as her naïveté reveals itself, and she even begins to win over her mother.

 

The only character with any real sense is Kelly's father, a successful banker, who sees right through Lenny. But it becomes obvious on Kelly's wedding day, that he was eventually wore down by his daughter and wife.

 

This brings us back to the opening scene. Another wedding, same groom, different bride.

We can tell by the shallow conversations Lenny is having with the successful wedding guests, that he is window shopping, but has no real idea what he wants to buy, career wise.

He has never stopped to consider beyond this moment. And now, that the adrenaline rush of the "chase" is subsiding, we can again see an air of discontentment in his shallow eyes.

 

It is an open ending... Will Lenny stay with Kelly? Or will the same thing happen all over again.... ???

 

Secretly, most males in the audience (especially young males) want to be Lenny.

We want to sleep with Kelly (Cybill Shepherd).

 

Back in the day when I used to let my "little head" do most of my "thinking," I was no different.

 

But that is the child in us that we hopefully outgrow one day. That lives only for the self-satisfaction of the moment, with no consideration of the consequences for tomorrow.

 

Today, watching THE HEARTBREAK KID again after all these years, I am reminded of that selfish inner child that once use to command me.

 

But That kind of goal oriented, obsessive behavior can have a positive side.

By allowing individuals to take risks, go places and do some seemingly "impossible" things that at one time were only dreamt about.

That energy, properly channeled, can sometimes lead to great accomplishment.

 

When we leave Lenny, sitting alone on the couch, musing to himself as the camera fades back, there is this thought in the back of my mind.

His actions have brought him to another crossroad in his life.

Will he continue down the same path that brought him to this place, and repeat himself again?

Or, will he choose a path that leads him to become a successful bankers son-in-law, and forever after enjoy the wedded bliss of sleeping with Kelly, his hard won prize?

 

Now, at long last, I can finally rest in peace.

I no longer have to wonder, finally knowing what answer the director had in mind.

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Grodin's character is supposed to be very Jewish, but he had just spent 3 years in the Army. Any self-respecting member of the tribe would have gotten into the reserves, got himself classified 4-F, or gotten a teacher's deferment.

Like George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney?

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I guess you were trying to be funny, but I knew plenty of Jews who were in the military, just like Grodin in the movie.  Most of them were from New York, and the funniest people I ever knew.  I hope I didn't see racism in that post.  I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and consider that you were just being clever.

..and I am also Jewish, and I got into the National Guard to avoid being drafted..

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Like George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney?

HMMmmm.....

 

My BROTHER( rest in peace) NEVER called him "president Clinton", would always with disgusted tone of voice, call him "The draft dodger".  One day, I decided to razz him a bit.

 

"Whaddya go against DRAFT DODGERS?  YOU talk as if you WERN'T one!"

 

He'd get rankled, "HEY!  I served FOUR YEARS in the FRIGGIN' NAVY!  I SERVED my country!"

 

To which I'd counter, "Wasn't the reason guys JOINED the Navy was to get OUT of being DRAFTED?  And possibly sent to 'NAM?  YOU spent the VIET NAM years cruisin' 'round the CARRIBEAN!" :lol:

 

He'd "slow burn" and shake his head in disgust.

 

 

Sepiatone

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HMMmmm.....

 

My BROTHER( rest in peace) NEVER called him "president Clinton", would always with disgusted tone of voice, call him "The draft dodger".  One day, I decided to razz him a bit.

 

"Whaddya go against DRAFT DODGERS?  YOU talk as if you WERN'T one!"

 

He'd get rankled, "HEY!  I served FOUR YEARS in the FRIGGIN' NAVY!  I SERVED my country!"

 

To which I'd counter, "Wasn't the reason guys JOINED the Navy was to get OUT of being DRAFTED?  And possibly sent to 'NAM?  YOU spent the VIET NAM years cruisin' 'round the CARRIBEAN!" :lol:

 

He'd "slow burn" and shake his head in disgust.

 

 

Sepiatone

The name of the Brooklyn Dodgers was shortened from the Brooklyn Draft Dodgers.

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