The new Ben Stiller vehicle The Heartbreak Kid has a killer "high concept" - a husband falls in love with another woman while still on his honeymoon. It's worked twice before, brilliantly, both in its original form as a brisk, sardonic Bruce Jay Friedman short story (called "A Change of Plan") and as an emotionally booby-trapped Elaine May movie, also called The Heartbreak Kid, from 1972.
This new version, directed by the Farrelly brothers (There's Something About Mary) and adapted by a backcourt of screenwriters from the '72 screenplay (by Neil Simon), wears out its welcome long before the kid splinters any heart, much less breaks it. The Farrelly brothers have turned a classic "squirm comedy" about the wackiness of male emotions into a conventional marital mix-up farce with just enough out-there sex to seem "cutting edge" - or at least appealing to the frat-house crowd.
The Heartbreak Kid (Paramount) Starring Ben Stiller, Malin Akerman, Jerry Stiller, Rob Corddry, Carlos Mencia. Directed by Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly. Rated R. Time 107 minutes.
Watch a preview of The Heartbreak Kid at baltimoresun.com/heartbreak