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| 6 July 2018 | Reply

Written & Directed by Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek
Starring Madeleine Sami, Jackie van Beek, James Rolleston, Celia Pacquola
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

Breaking up is hard to do, as we all know, so what a brilliantly simple concept Kiwi comedians Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek (writers, directors and stars) have cooked up with The Breaker Upperers. For a fee the two step in to end their client’s relationships using just about any means necessary.

Lying is all part of the job, masquerading as lovers, delivering singing telegram-styled bust-ups, and even telling some of their client’s partners that their loved ones – whose desire to move on they are obviously oblivious of – have died or vanished.

Sticking their nose into other people’s personal lives takes its toll on their own, already dysfunctional, personal lives. As a result Mel (Sami) and Jen (vam Beek) fall out heavily after Anna (played by Celia Pacquola), on the receiving end of one of their breakups and another client, young, dumb rugby player Jordan (James Rolleston from Taika Waititi’s Boy) both fixate for different reasons on Mel.

Sami and van Beek bring an endearing humanity and a sketch comedy feel to the film, but don’t totally shy away from the disturbing moral implications of their character’s business. As Anna says in disgust, “you work for weak arseholes who don’t have the guts to talk to their partners,” and it’s her reaction to their services which forces the duo to confront what they’re doing. The morality of the story is never allowed to intrude too much, though, and scenes when the duo are wearing their fake Police outfits inside a Police station, and skits involving Jordan’s ex (Sepa, played with threatening urban gusto by Ana Scotney) and her posse are genuinely, laugh out loud hilarious.

Waititi Executive Produces, implying that some of that Marvel money and fame is being productively re-invested into the New Zealand film market. It’s a good thing too, as The Breaker Upperers is a hilarious, endearing comedy with heart and soul, which more than justifies it’s appearance as opening night films for both the Sydney Film Festival and Perth’s Revelation Film Festival this month.


Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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