Notes from the back row 

No Friends on a film date, please

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I’m sad to report that Pique was unable to send me to France for the Cannes Film Festival last week, (where I apparently had an X-Men screening date with star/supermodel Rebecca Romijn, I guess she’s heard of me and now that John Stamos is out of the picture…). Instead we’re all stuck back here with what, on paper, looked like a good idea, especially in the cult-of-the-celebrity cesspool that is American modern culture.

The Break Up , stars Jennifer Aniston. This alone should have bored housewives and tabloid-junkies running to the theatres. Add in one-trick-pony improv funnyman Vince Vaughn as her love/hate interest and things are looking up. (And to be fair, Vaughn’s schtick is still funny, even with its familiarity and the fact that he seems driven by massive amounts of partying and coke – note the weight fluctuations.) Toss in a strong supporting cast, the guy who directed Bring it On , and a public relations campaign pushing it as an anti-romantic comedy and one would expect The Break Up to be money in the bank, and it probably is.

Except that the Aniston-Pitt breakup was so long ago that even pathetic souls who care about that stuff have moved on. (And for the record, given an Aniston-Angelina Jolie choice to make, you’d have to be a God-damned fool to not choose Angelina.) As well as the fact that the script is piss-poor, not funny, predictable (do you really believe they’ll still be broken up at the end) and director Reed forgets that flashy camera work is no way to cover up his lack of properly imagined characters.

The film starts with Vaughn coercing Aniston away from another guy with, of all things, a hot dog. (Hot chicks just love to eat those don’t they?) Then their entire romance is shown through a still-image montage as the opening credits run and when the movie actually begins they’re already at each other’s throats before we get a chance to see what their relationship was all about.

After deciding to split, both characters want their fancy condo so they end up living as roommates who hate each other and, on the advice of friends, co-workers, even total strangers, go though a series of rarely funny things designed to either push the other away or win him/her back.

It’s all pretty lame if you ask me, although the supporting cast of Joey Lauren Adams, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman and Justin Long do provide some highlights. The fact of the matter is that Aniston, with her limited range and expression, just isn’t a leading lady and, if you’re keeping score, last year’s Pitt/Jolie film Mr. and Mrs. Smith was about two million times better. Oh Angelina.

Also opening at the Village 8, but not till next Tuesday, is The Omen . Now there’s nothing wrong with the 1976 original, but you know how Hollywood feels a need to forego subtlety and inject a bit more seriousness to please modern horror fans. Having said that, this Omen , directed adeptly by John Moore, is pretty frickin’ sweet. It sticks to the original script. (American democrat’s newborn son is murdered and secretly switched for Damien, the antichirst, whose nanny publicly kills herself at his fifth birthday party and things go downhill from there.) While the new Damien looks almost too badass (no shit he’s the devil, look at him!) this flick is probably the best horror remake to come along in a while. Plus any movie about the antichrist with an opening date of 6/6/06 has totally got my vote. Go Satan!

AT VILLAGE 8 June 2-8: The Breakup; X-Men 3 Last Stand; Da Vinci Code; Over the Hedge; Mission Impossible 3; Poseidon; RV. Starting June 6: The Omen .

AT RAINBOW THEATRE June 2-8:

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