CERT 12A 106 MINS ***
Discounting Bruce Almighty because of the Jim Carrey factor, with the US box office cracking past the $100 million mark this is Jennifer Aniston's most successful film.
Taking almost double that of her previous high water mark with Along Came Polly, it also confirms her position as the only one from Friends to have built a decent big screen career.
Of course, you have to ask just how much her name has to do with pulling in the punters. After all, Polly was headlined by, at the time, box office comedy gold Ben Stiller and this sees her co-starring opposite Vince Vaughn, very much an audience magnet after The Wed-ding Crashers.
And let's not discount the gossip page tattle about their rumoured off-screen relationship following the very public collapse of her marriage to Brad Pitt.
But let's not rain on the Aniston parade, especially since, after any number of mediocre and miscast roles, this is also her third best performance after The Good Girl and Friends With Money. A pity then that the film itself isn't that much cop.
Directed by Peyton Reed who made the misfiring Day/Hudson pastiche Down With Love, it's being dubbed an anti-romantic comedy in that its plot involves the falling apart of a relationship rather than the blossoming of one, exploring the discovery of emotional wisdom and maturity rather than the giddy highs of falling in love.
In a nutshell, fed up with being taken for granted Chicago art gallery manager Brooke (Aniston) threatens to break-up with tour guide live-in-lover Gary (Vaughn), only to have him petulantly take her at her word.
With him stubbornly refusing to acknowledge her attempts to patch things up, they end up sharing their upscale apartment while looking for separate homes, she bringing home handsome studs in an effort to stir his jealousy, he responding by acting the slob and inviting bimbos over to play strip poker with his buddies.
You know that, deep down, they still care for each other but the film's problem is you really don't want them to get back together.
Why? Because, Gary is such a jerk.
There's a reason why the film opens with him harassing her to go out with him at a baseball game (where he's rude to her date) and then fast forwards through a montage of courtship photographs, and that's because Gary's so inherently selfish and immature and she's so sensible that, had there been a first act, it would be impossible to believe they'd ever become a compatible couple in the first place.
There's some nicely observed early touches as it sketches how partners can take each other for granted, but once all-out relation-ship war breaks out ideally the film should have taken a War of the Roses route and relished the darkness.
However, it settles for looking daggers rather than throwing knives while Vaughn and Aniston seem to be acting in completely different films, he some fratboy comedy with broad strokes and, demonstrating genuine hurt, she something considerably more emotionally affecting.
Little surprise then that, for all the tabloid gossip, the pair generate very little on-screen chemistry.
There are some very funny moments, not least the disastrous family dinner party (with the brief cameo by Ann-Margret) that precipitates the break-up and a genuine laugh out loud moment when, sick of his gay taunts about his male voice choir, Brooke's brother lays Gary out with a martial arts move.
But ironically, just as with Down With Love, it's the support cast that give the film its comic zest and extra star rating. So full marks then to Judy Davis as Brooke's witheringly acerbic sexually direct boss, Vincent D'Onofrio and Cole Hauser as Gary's wonderfully oddball brothers, each just a few degrees offkilter from reality, and, regular Vaughn collaborator, the consistently drolly amusing Jon Favreau as Gary's dumbly macho barman best mate. They really are the best part of breaking up.