Film Review: The Breaker Uppers

(SXSW, 2018)

In the newly released film from New Zealand titled The Breaker Upperers, Jackie Van Beek and Madeleine Sami are two best friends who run a business that breaks up romantic relationships, but in the most extreme and absurd alternatives to talking it out. This includes dressing up as police officers and stating peoples’ partners are missing or kidnapping their loved ones. However, their friendship gets tested when one of them gets romantically involved with one client: a 17-year-old dim-witted rugby player named Jordan (James Rolleston) who wants to break up with his thuggish girlfriend, Sepa (Ana Scotney).

Here’s the thing about this comedy: some of the jokes are legitimately funny and some are not. The ones that do go outside of being shallow, shock humour have great set-ups and deliveries. One involves a client named Anna (played by 2018 Helpmann Award winner for Best Comedy Performer Celia Pacquola), who requests to see the file in regards to her boyfriend’s disappearance, forcing the pair to continue their charade as police officers at the station. Furthermore, I will say that the best joke in the whole film goes to a sight gag from Sepa and her gang. It’s the type of fantastic humour I enjoyed from Van Beek and Sami’s script.

Also, while the second half of the story becomes more predictable and the plot can be difficult to grasp if you over-think it, Van Beek and Sami do have some great chemistry together and both have character arcs in regards to looking back at their job and their friendship. But the best character was Jordan for being incredibly likeable and hilarious. However, I will sadly and respectfully disagree with the one critic who said this was funnier than Hunt for the Wilderpeople (directed by this film’s executive producer Taika Waititi), but it still has some pretty good comedy. If you’re into edgy, sexual and sometimes dark humour, you’ll enjoy this one.

The film is out now in cinemas around the country, so don’t miss out!

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