Kiwi comedy produces yet another kooky double act in The Breaker Upperers.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Were you wooed by the whimsy of Hunt for the Wilderpeople? Delighted by the daftness of What We Do In The Shadows? Although The Breaker Upperers isn’t directed or written by everyone’s favourite Kiwi Taika Waititi (he instead serves as executive producer), his fingerprints are all over this raunchy rom-com from writers/directors/lead actresses Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek.
Sami and van Beek play Mel and Jen respectively, two BFFs scorned by the same man who decide to use their heartbreak as motivation to start a business. The titular ‘break-up’ agency sees Mel and Jen hired by people who want their relationship to come to a swift and irreversible end, which often requires the two ladies to pose as a side chick, mistress or even a kidnapper. However, their job soon starts to get ugly, and a little something called conscience starts to creep in when things go awry.
Sami and van Beek’s film dapples in the same daffy naivety, absurd asides and clever callbacks that audiences have come to know and love from NZ comedy; plus, aren’t some jokes just funnier when told with a quirky Kiwi lilt? A standout highlight of the film is James Rolleston as Jordan, a dim-witted rugby hunk who is terrified of breaking up with girlfriend. Rolleston shares hilarious chemistry with Sami, and his wide-eyed innocence steals scene after scene.
While The Breaker Upperers is distinctly Kiwi in some ways, in others it wouldn’t feel amiss with a name like Paul Feig or Judd Apatow on the poster. The raunchiness recalls Bridesmaids or Girls Trip, while the film literally ends in a This Is The End-esque dance number where all is good with the world once more. It’s Wellington by way of Hollywood.
At a brisk 90 minutes, The Breaker Upperers, like its characters, aims to get in and get out without making much of a fuss. Sami and van Beek write and direct with boisterous panache, so even the jokes that don’t land are a long-forgotten memory after the next five or six. Three stars out of five.
The Breaker Upperers is available in Australian cinemas from July 26
Image courtesy of Madman Entertainment