The Breakup Assist, Kiwi Style (Film Review: “The Breaker Upperers”)


A zany and delightfully lowbrow comedy about breaking up, and the wacky BFFs who will do it for you, for a price. . . another comic gem from New Zealand.

SnapShot Plot

Who knew breaking up was so hard to do that a tiny cottage industry – comprised of exactly two best friends – should spring up in suburban Auckland? That’s the premise of the hilarious 2018 movie, The Breaker UpperersCo-stars  Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami play best friends Jen and Mel, two fringe types for whom the standards of love, marriage and family haven’t exactly applied. What they’re selling is simple: they will execute your romantic breakup for you. Their antics to ensure your breakup is solid and final are anything short of extreme. These two will concoct  – and star in – bizarre scenarios including mock infidelities, made up criminal acts, kidnapping, even faux death pronouncements, all in the name of credible exit strategies for their clients. When a few cases get too close for comfort, and lines are blurred between the professional and the personal, things go off the rails big time. How can this partnership survive when its principals have thrown their friendship bracelets and their relationship on the trash heap?



Parting Shot

Produced by Taika Waititi (Boy; What We Do in the Shadows; Thor: Ragnarok) and co-written/directed by stars Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami, The Breaker Upperers is a wildly fun ride with a kicky soundtrack and offbeat dance numbers that underscores the script’s sarcasm and irony at every turn. Waititi’s trademark touches are everywhere, including the cool casting of his Boy star James Rolleston as Mel’s empty headed teenage crush and Jemaine Clement as Jen’s vapid Tinder date. In fact, both Clement and van Beek were perfect in the hilarious 2014 vampire sendup, What We Do in the Shadows (created by Taititi and Clement), a Norma’s Streaming Pick favorite.

Loyal followers of this site may recall the post that started it all, the similarly slapstick French comedy Heartbreaker, starring Romain Duris and Vanessa Paradis, shot on location on the French Riviera. It’s basically so similar in plot-line that there must be an homage here, albeit of the blue collar variety. And check out the parallel musical inspirations, in one case the music of George Michael and the film Dirty Dancing and in the other the music of that other pop icon, Celine Dion.

In the long line of buddy movies, you really can’t go wrong with this Kiwi entry. And if you’re unhappy in your relationship, or looking for an offbeat entrepreneurial gig with your bestie, this may just be the inspiration you’ve been searching for.

The Breaker Upperers is presently streaming on Netflix.

Norma’s Streaming Picks is proud to announce squatters’ rights on a fantastic site for Baby Boomers, Midcentury/Modern as well as right here at home. I invite you to go there for more great content!

YouTube Trailer:

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