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Break-up break-downs in black NZ comedy

Tracey Fox


3 1/2 Stars

If you are the kind of tender soul who just loves a good love story and are a romantic at heart, The Breaker Upperers probably will not appeal to you.

However, if you have a bit of a cynical side, have been heartbroken once or twice and generally feel love is dead; grab some popcorn and join in the fun.

Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami both wrote and directed this latest dark comedy gem, two New Zealand comedians who are also the two central characters.

The story is fairly simple but is packed with cringe comedy and crazy circumstances that keep the film ticking along nicely.

Over a decade ago, Jen (Jackie van Beek) met Mel (Madeleine Sami) when they realised they were both dating the same lothario.

Instead of pining for their lost lover, the two teamed up and started a small business helping others to break away from unwanted relationships for payment.

Now, years after, they have become very successful all while becoming fairly hard-hearted and cynical during the process.

It all seems to be boozy nights and one-night stands, free of the heartache and commitments of any kind of real relationship, that is until one day they accidently bump into one of their old victims.

When Mel sees how much their meddling has affected the poor woman, feelings of shame start to stir, and she starts to question what they do for a living, as well as her friendship with Jen too.

Without giving too much away, after many years offering various packages to clients to assist to send unwanted partners on their ways, including such scenarios as dressing up as police and delivering the fake news that their dear beloved has died; through to playing the part of the other woman, half of the team finally grows a conscience.

As they drift apart, they come to realise that while they both have become bitter middle-aged women incapable of having a normal relationship, they do indeed need each other.

Awkward laughs and cringey chuckles aside, the film does have a soul, and apparently a heart buried under years of pessimism and singledom.

Certainly not a film for the youngsters, but it is definitely one for a night out with the girls, or the boys with a particular sense of the absurd.

About Tracey Fox

For the past nine years Tracey has been the smiling face at reception. She takes care of the classifieds and trades and services sections for the paper but she is also our reviewer. For the past eight years her movies, books, theatre and food reviews have entertained our readers. She loves the fact the Echo is a small paper and its staff have a genuine interest in local issues because they are locals. Tracey says it is great working at a paper she wants to read.

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