After this weekend hits, I wouldn't be surprised if Forgetting Sarah Marshall becomes the quintessential break-up movie. But even if it doesn't, the comedy will go down in the record books for being that romcom about the really heart-broken and pissed off dude whose story lathered ad spaces everywhere with lovely messages like: "You Suck Sarah Marshall," and made Sarah Marshalls across the US wonder what they did to deserve that.
But there's still a ton of other flicks out there that deal with break-ups -- way too many to even begin to name. But while each of them has heartbreak on their sleeve, they all tackle the issue in different ways. In honor of Peter Bretter's broken heart, here are seven other men who have had their hearts broken on-screen, all for the sake of comedy. Check these out and then weigh in with your favorites. Annie Hall? The Break-Up? The Philadelphia Story? Say Anything? Swingers?
The Nasty Letter -- Overnight Delivery
Wyatt Tripps (Paul Rudd) didn't want much in his happy co-ed experience, just Kimberly Jasney (Christine Taylor)... and one more thing: sex. Imagine his surprise when he finds out that while he's been writing Kim romantic notes and thinking about how much he'll miss her on Valentine's Day, she's been humping the Ricker -- a notion that ruins his dream of white picket fences, kids, and maybe even a house. Sure, he ends up on a spastic road trip with Ivy Miller (Reese Witherspoon) to stop the letter with loving phrases like "cellulite-packed cactuses that you call thighs," and finds real love, but before that, he has a good cry in his cocoa and a lot of humiliation.
The Embarrassing Party Scene -- Roger Dodger
Roger Swanson (Campbell Scott) seems to be cooler than cool. Words and bull roll off his tongue with ease, like many of Scott's characters, and his ego seems big enough to quash any challenge -- until Roger's older, sexy boss Joyce (Isabella Rossellini) grows tired with the attachment he has for her, and abruptly, but politely, breaks things off. As some of Swanson's carefully built machismo starts to crumble, he gets drunk, crashes her party, and commits professional suicide.
The Person Left at the Altar -- The Graduate
It was all wonderful for Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) when he swept Elaine Robinson (Katharine Ross) away from her marriage by banging on that piece of glass. But imagine poor Carl Smith (Brian Avery). The guy did nothing to deserve being stood up at the altar -- especially for a guy who slept with his fiancee's mother. Ben might be the hero of the film, but he's not the guy you'd pick in real life, unless you think like Henry Miller, who did a bit of the mother/daughter thing himself.
The Nasty Divorce -- War of the Roses
Barbara Rose (Kathleen Turner) gets a straying eye after a long and tedious marriage, one that wonders what life would be like without her husband, Oliver (Michael Douglas). Soon enough, they're getting divorce, but it isn't all legal battles and stink-eyes. Barbara and Oliver literally battle -- all to be the victor in the fight for the house. There's cat death, cerebral knocking with a frying pan, supposed dog pate, and more. It's the best kind of nasty fun, because it came at the hands of Turner and Douglas, but it's still one of the worst breakups ever.
The Break-Up List -- High Fidelity
Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is lazily happy. He's got a successful and sexy girlfriend (Iben Hjejle's Laura) and his own record store. But then Laura leaves Rob and moves in with the freaky hippie guru Ian (Tim Robbins), and Rob goes nuts. As much as he tries to classify other bad breakups, from a broken heart on the playground to a screaming match in the rain, as the worst, nothing compares to losing Laura, getting yelled at by his sister, and having to spend every day with Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black).
The Home-Wrecking Teen -- Election
Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) knew what she wanted, and grown men wouldn't stop her from getting it. In most cases, it's adults doing the heart-breaking, but in Tracy's case, she can rock at school, be in a million activities, and still ruin two grown men's lives, and one strictly by the heart. First it was Dave Novotny (Mark Harelik), the teacher she had a sexual relationship with until he got fired and dumped for it. While he pined, she moved on and destroyed Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick), a well-meaning teacher whose life went to shambles after hurricane Tracy.
The Unconsummated Marriage -- Three Colours: White
Yeah, physical violence sucks, as does wedding woes and Rickers, but does anything compare to being a simple Polish man (Zbigniew Zamachowski), marrying a sexy French lady (Julie Delpy), and having her tell the Paris court that he can't get it up to consummate the marriage, so she wants a divorce? And then takes his livelihood as well as his dignity? Soon he's left with nothing, and is wanted by the police, so he sneaks off to Poland* and ultimately plans his revenge.
*Edited thanks to Opperput