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Heartbreak Kid [VHS]
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Product Description

After her brilliant career in a comedy duo with Mike Nichols, Elaine May made tentative progress as a director, making only four films between 1971 and 1987 (her last being the disastrous but underrated Ishtar). Released in 1972, The Heartbreak Kid (from a screenplay by Neil Simon) is widely considered her best work from behind the camera, and it's still one of the most accomplished--but least recognized--comedies of the 1970s. Charles Grodin landed one of his best roles as Lenny, a newlywed husband who meets a gorgeous blonde (Cybill Shepherd) while on his honeymoon, and finds his new bride, Lila (played by May's daughter, Jeannie Berlin), unappealing by comparison. When Lila is forced to rest with a severe case of sunburn, Lenny's free to pursue his new interest, oblivious to the manipulative games that he'll soon be subjected to. May and screenwriter Simon draw plenty of pain, awkwardness, and embarrassment from hilarious situations, giving this comedy a perceptive awareness of human foibles and unchecked desires. It's a newlywed's worst nightmare come true, made enjoyable because we're watching it happen to someone else. Grodin's a prime choice of casting for expressing the movie's lusty anxiety--he's a schmuck, but you can still sympathize with the anguish he's brought on himself. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • Very very funny
    A film directed by Elaine May, written by Neil Simon, based on a story by Bruce Jay Friedman. If that's not good pedigree, I don't know what is. Admittedly, plenty of fine filmmakers have made bilge, but this one lives up to expectaions - it's fantastic. One of the all-time funniest Jewish comedies, I watch it every year. It's the best thing Charles Grodin ever made, and Jeannie Berlin plays her part perfectly.

    It sounds a lofty claim, but for me this film is close to perfection. It's a low-key film, so it tends to get overlooked - even by people who know it - but it's hard to think of anything in it that could have been done better. It's generally funny and sometimes hilarious. The breakup scene at the restaurant is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. And there's one other thing - there's something about films made in the early '70s. They have something. And this is one of the best of them....more info
  • Great, Funny Treatment of Extended Adolescence
    Social critic Tom Wolfe once labeled the Seventies "The Me Decade," when self-absorption was in high fashion, especially among white males in major metropolitan areas. Two films released at the start of that decade, both in a sense dark comedies, capture the essence of navel-gazing and the drive for upward mobility that epitomized the era.

    In "Diary of a Mad Housewife", Richard Benjamin stars as a success-at-any-cost husband who rides his wife mercilessly for her unwillingness to play the role of dutiful corporate wife. Two years after "Housewife", Charles Grodin assumed the role of Lennie, a malevolently charming newlywed who dumps his bride during a severe attack of libido in Elaine May's "Heartbreak Kid".

    With Benjamin's character, it's all about whipping the wife into line so he can ride the crest of success. Lennie, Grodin's character, only knows that there's some sort of mountain to be conquered - in this case, Cybil Shepherd - but initially fails to grasp the implications of what she can do for him socially and financially. In the end, each of these extended adolescents doesn't quite know what to make of their place in the world - it takes someone half Lennie's age to ask a basic question that he can't quite digest.

    Both Benjamin and Grodin give stunning performances in their respective vehicles - each pouts pitifully and uses his voice in a wonderfully deprecating way at times - but because of the nature of their respective characters, Grodin is given much freer rein to let it all loose. And that he does, turning in the finest performance of his career through bouts of surface charm, sarcasm, unctuousness and inner loneliness. "Heartbreak" is a very funny satire about a man-boy who wants to have it all and does his damnedest to make it happen, half-faking it as he goes. With an inspired script and exceptional acting by all - but most especially by Grodin - it's one for the time capsule. ...more info
  • Sharp satire on marriage and romance
    Loosely based on a short story by one of America's top satirists, Bruce Jay Friedman ("A Change of Plan"), The Heartbreak Kid (yes, this is the original version from 1972) is a sharp piece of biting comedy that skewers the American way when it comes to "getting ahead" in the romance department.

    And who but a salesman as the male protagonist--after marrying in haste a goofy, blowzy Jewish princess (well played by Jeannie Berlin, daughter of director Elaine May), our salesman (Charles Grodin (in "no one else could do the role justice" casting) falls for WASPy Cybill Shepherd whose father, Eddie Albert, is a hard-nosed cynical father WASP who knows a sleazy opportunist when he sees one, and instinctively hates our salesman right off the bat.

    The casting is absolutely perfect; the dialogue crackles and snaps, and I would have to say that this is definitely one of the best American comedies not only of the 1970s, but even one of the best 25 American comedies in the last 40 years.

    Comedy, I think, should not be sappy, saccharine, schmaltzy, or dumb. It should bite and crackle and generate guffaws while at the same time digging into what makes us human--i.e., imperfect and therefore dumb and/or wrong in what we do to ourselves and/or those around us. This comedy definitely fills the bill on all scores.

    If you want a smart comedy that will make you laugh out loud, here it is. It's great....more info
  • Theres no "deceit" in this movie
    The poor mans "Graduate" to be sure but much much lighter.
    So funny so well written so well played out.

    Too many scenes to note so here's a few:

    Watch the reaction of the waiter when Lenny goes crazy over the Pe-can pie
    Not to mention Lenny's handling of the whole situation

    Lenny's explanation to his wife on why he cant be with her stuck in the hotel room

    ...more info
  • Who knew double egg salad could explain so much?
    A fine, fine film--truly one of the best ever made. Not too many scenes in cinema equal the one where Lila and Len make a stop at the coffee shop on their way to the Miami honeymoon. Juxtaposing the happy, carefree singing in the car, hopeful and driving to a new life and future, with the now-classic shot of Lila making a sloppy mess eating her double egg salad sandwich, yapping throughout, and the reaction shot: Len realizing in that quick instant that he has made the hugest mistake of his life. Excellent!...more info
  • A Qualified Winner
    On the surface, The Heartbreak Kid is a small movie with a simple plot. Lenny (Charles Grodin) dumps his wife (Lila played by Jeannie Berlin) of five days to pursue a beautiful coed (Kelly played by Cybill Shepherd). Standing between Lenny and Kelly is Kelly's possessive father (Mr. Corcoran). Character portrayal is almost perfect. Charles Grodin is convincing as the self-centered and reckless Lenny. Finding an actress more capable of playing the naive and boy-teasing Kelly (Cybill Shepherd) would have been very difficult. Eddie Albert (Mr. Corcoran) stands like a brick wall between Lenny and his conquest (Kelly).

    More interesting than the character portrayal and story line are the underlying motives of the characters, and the consequences of their actions. Lenny abandons his wife (Lila), and leaves her brokenhearted. He is headstrong and determined, but also callous and foolish. Kelly's affection for Lenny is quite immature: she see's him as a strong father figure although he is actually egotistical and, quit frankly, short-sighted. The most mature and rational character in the film is Mr. Corcoran. The Heartbreak Kid works as a lighthearted love story; that is, cute boy wins cute girl despite their social, economic and religious differences. Thankfully, The Heartbreak Kid doesn't attempt to promote any moral themes. If it did, the film would fail. The viewer could not be satisfied with the nice cute boy wins nice cute girl conclusion because the boy (Lenny) cares for no one except himself. In summary, The Heartbreak Kid is a qualified winner with just one caveat: don't think too much....more info

  • A Great American Comedy
    Thankfully, Anchor Bay(Genuises!!!) has re-issued this classic comedy with a nice widescreen transfer. It's a fantastic film and deserves a nice dvd. Though the dvd has little in the way of extras, I was still pleased as it one of my favorite films. I rank it right up there with great American comedies like ANNIE HALL. It's certainly the darkest stuff that Neil Simon's ever had a hand in. Grodin, Berlin, Albert and Shepherd-they're all excellent here. A great film from a great female directorial voice(Elaine May-who also directed A NEW LEAF with Walter Matthau-why is there no dvd for that film yet!). At a low list price, this film is impossible to pass up on dvd!...more info
  • So sue me, already, this my favorite movie.
    Jewish boy marries within his faith and within days desires to be within the bikini bottom of a blonde Minnesota princess. A remarkable 70s survey of stupidity, the sunburned Florida dream, and WASP conversational wastelands. The performances, sets and costumes are worth the price of admission. And the "pecan pie" scene in which Lenny (Grodin) dumps his dumpy new wife (Berlin) in front of the wait staff and patrons of a cheesy seafood restaurant: priceless....more info
  • "There is no deceit in the cauliflower."
    Charles Grodin is hilarious (as are his sideburns) and pathetic as a man who, while on his honeymoon, falls in love with another woman. He decides to prove himself to Cybil Shepard (the woman he's fallen in love with) and her father (rich, conservative, loathes Grodin) by leaving his wife in mid-honeymoon and following Cybil and her family back to Minnesota and trying to win her hand in marriage.

    Classic lines include: "Don't... don't do that, honey. Don't ever put a Milky Way in someone's mouth when they don't want it." and "There is no deceit in the cauliflower."

    One thing I found surprising about this movie is that Charles Grodin's character isn't really all that likable. For that matter, pretty much everyone in this film is somewhat morally bankrupt. Not that that's a bad thing... it just surprised me because the screenplay is by Neil Simon, whose stuff tends to be a bit lighter.

    All in all, this is definitely worth seeking out... it'll take you back to the days when movie-makers actually knew how to make a comedy that was FUNNY......more info

  • Eddy Albert's Finest Hour
    "No deceipt in the cauliflower"? What about the "honest carrots"? I saw this while living in a Construction Camp in Northern Australia in 1971. We used to watch movies outside, projected onto a huge white screen. This movie is nothing short of hilarious. ...more info
  • Favorite movie
    This movie is absolutely wonderful. It is completely hilarious. The acting is done wonderfully by Charles Grodin. This is one of his best films of all time. Also, the extra sexy Cybill Shepherd is an absolute doll in this movie as usual. This helps to make the movie even more riveting. I cannot say enough good things about this movie....more info
  • "Stay the He// Out of Minnesota, You ** Newlywed!"
    This blurry, grainy (because they used a poor copy of the film to make this DVD? It was the "in" thing in film back then? Or "added" to the DVD release for ambiance & effect?) dramedy flashback to the way we were at the U of M in 1972 is an interesting sociological study on the times that in the end leaves the viewer in a blurred state, saying "hunh - what?" Who is the master manipulator here?
    (a.) Kelly Corcoran - gorgeous, boy-teasing rich girl about campus, as played by Cybill Shepard after leaving the Last Picture Show in Texas and before "Moonlighting" in San Francisco?
    (b.) Her rich Daddy as played by Eddie Albert after leaving Arnold and the Hooterville folk down on the "Green Acres" farm?
    or (c.) Lenny Cantrow, (Charles Grodin) who abandons his wife- played to perfection by the director's daughter deserving the Academy Award nomination she received - of less than a week on their Miami Honeymoon to go trotting off to Minnesota in the winter to "win" Kelly/Cybill?

    Two things are as clear as the Sky Blue waters:
    (1) neither director Elaine May nor screenwriter Neil Simon is very familiar with our Great State - as when Kelly and Lenny run off to the Corcoran "summer cabin in the mountains." Um, er, what Minnesota Mountain Range are we talking about here? The taconite piles up on the Iron Range?
    (2) Viewers will never again be able to eat an egg salad sandwich without recalling Lila Cantrow.
    /TundraVision, Amazon Reviewer
    ...more info
  • The Great Gatsby With a Twist
    Lenny is a repulsive, vapid nonentity who, with nothing but ambition, represents the most ugly kind of American imaginable, the ruthless upwardly mobile narcissist who will trample on anyone--including his wife--to get what he wants, namely, Cybil Shepherd, who plays a young woman from a family of old money. To use a cliche, watching this movie is like watching a car wreck. You cringe, you laugh, you shake your head in disbelief (yet you believe all the same!) as Lenny, played by Charles Grodin, manipulates his bovine wife and sets the stage to marry the Cybil Shepherd character. I've seen this movie a half a dozen times over the last twenty-five years and feel compelled to hail it a masterpiece, a variation of The Great Gatsby theme....more info
  • pretty good, but comes up frustratingly short
    This is an intriguing movie with a lot of things going for it, but it ends up falling disappointingly short of greatness. The movie was directed by Elaine May, and the screenplay was written by Neil Simon. Charles Grodin plays Lenny who meets his dream girl Kelly, played by Cybill Shepherd, but unfortunately, he meets her while on his honeymoon with his wife Lila, played by Jeannie Berlin. Certainly, Cybill is great in this movie--funny, charming, and seductive, it's no wonder that Lenny would fall head over heels for her. There are some highly amusing scenes here such as the scene where Grodin gives three of Kelly's classmates a "drug test", and the one-on-one scene with Grodin and Eddie Albert. Plus, the movie's oh-so-'70s theme song is amusingly fun. The ending of the movie is also clever and intriguing.

    However, the movie is frequently awkward, and although that's probably intentional, the script comes up short in many places, and at times the acting misses the mark as well. There are some really overblown moments between Grodin and Jeannie Berlin where Grodin painfully overacts. For example, there's the part when he unexpectedly screams at her in the scene where she's lying on the bed with an awful sunburn and he informs her he's going to get a beer. Another example is the part where he gets deliriously defensive when she questions if he's telling the truth over a story that he totally made up as an excuse to spend time with Kelly. Grodin is also cringe-worthy in the scene with him by the fire in the cabin with Shepherd, although it's the lame lines of which he's been given that are more at fault than his acting.

    I also want to point out that I find it rather curious that this movie gets classified as a comedy, because it really leans more towards a drama. I mean, if the drawn out, melodramatic scene with Lenny and Lila at the seafood restaurant is supposed to be particularly funny, I find that disturbing.

    Overall, still a pretty good movie despite all of its faults--Cybill Shepherd's performance is a must see, and Grodin and Albert have their moments as well, but the movie does leave one feeling frustratingly unsatisfied....more info
  • The Heartbreak Kid
    Lenny and Lila are a young Jewish couple who meet in New York, fall in love and marry. They decide to honeymoon in Miami Beach. On the drive down, Lenny starts noticing little things about Lila that are loud she can be, how she eats. Their first day in Miami, she gets a bad sun burn and is confined to their room..he spends his time at the beach and meets the ultimate blonde WASP from Minnesota, Kelly...and immediately falls in love. How does he tell Lila and how does he tell Kelly's father he's on his HONEYMOON??
    This is a hilarious comedy with Charles Grodin, Jeannie Berlin and Cybill Shephard.
    ...more info
  • A Pauper's "Graduate"!
    From the opening scenes accompanied with the opening sound track the similarities with a much better comedy "The Graduate" becomes clear. The Simon and Garfunkel-sounding clone track to the very "odd" ending borrow heavily from "The Graduate" formula. Both films cover taboo topics and things that just weren't done in those days designed to shock and entertain the audience at the same time. Both make heavy use of the popular music soundtrack with Burt Bacharach's doing here what Simon & Garfunkel's did to much better effect on "The Graduate". I sympathise with another reviewer who's just as confused as I was a couple of years back with the choices for AFI best ever comedies and I think the selection criteria had nothing to do with films that necessarily make you laugh until you split your sides but more so films with "substance" as well although I am not suggesting that I believe this film should be among the list either.

    The "substance" here is arguably the directing skills of Elaine May although I have to say that the best part of the movie which earns it at least 2 stars is the "Confession" scene and Jeannie Berlin thoroughly deserved her Oscar nomination for a fantastic job making you laugh and mostly feel her intense heartbreak when she realises that the man she loved has severely betrayed her. First class acting!

    The DVD is disappointing though in that although there are no white spots and other age-related imperfections which ironically means that the master was hardly ever used often enough which speaks volumes for the on-going popularity (or rather lack)of this film but the overall picture quality barely rises above the level of average VHS quality. The sound quality is Dolby Digital Mono which is okay by Mono standards but nothing to shout about. There are also no Special Features worth mentioning about.

    Overall, this is an amusing but mostly chastising and thought-provoking film about people using people for their own selfish desires without considering the consequences to the "innocents" that they hurt along the way. Grodin's character victimises the "innocent" Berlin's character just as Shepherd's character victimises Grodin's early on although the telling ending speaks volumes suggesting Grodin's character is still not satisfied and that even more heartbreak is on the cards as he seeks to fulfil his insatiable desires irrespective of the costs on others who have the misfortune to be in his path.

    Interesting film but poor dvd version that makes you wonder why you should "upgrade" from the VHS. If you really have to though, wait for a much better restored dvd version both picture and sound quality-wise....more info
  • Well done, but don't get it as a date movie
    If you want light comedy that will leave warm, romantic feelings at the end, you should probably try A New leaf (by the same director) instead of this film.

    That said, this is an intelligent, watchable movie that leaves you thinking back on the characters the next day.
    ...more info
  • LOVED It!!!
    Very funny. Good story - The acting was great. Makes me wonder why Jeanie Berlin wasn't featured in more films - Seemed like a natural....more info