Sometimes I’ll see movies that I’ve never heard of in the “Trending Now” list on Netflix, and I’ll get excited about the possibility of finding a hidden gem. If they’re trending, I reason, that means they’ve got to be good enough that a lot people are watching. And when I read the description of The Matchbreaker, I was optimistic that I had indeed found a good one.
It’s clever. The premise, that is. Not the movie itself. Because the premise is that a guy get hired by parents to break up their young adult children’s relationships. The title says it all. I wish I had thought of it. And wrote it, because my version would have been much better.
Lame, lame, and lame
The movie starts with a voice over, over black screen, that goes on for a very long time. It’s the main character telling his best friend about a childhood crush, kind of for no apparent reason. I have to wonder, why is he extolling this girl’s virtues to his best friend now? No particular reason. They’re just chatting.
Maybe that doesn’t seem like a terrible movie fault to a non-screenwriter’s ears. But it turns out that “just chatting” is not a good reason for dialogue in a movie. It makes for dull, non-exciting, non-compelling stories. Which is exactly what this movie was. Lots of random chatting, a bunch of time spent on side-characters with no introduction of their relevance to the story, a crap-load of coincidences (“Oh, I remember you from grade school,” and “Oh, didn’t we go to grade school together?” And I can’t forget, “We went to the same grade school!” They tried to make it all plausible with, “It’s a small community.” Um, you’re in the middle of a city, dude…). And add in some stilted lines, with the occasional wooden acting for good measure.
Another issue is that the whole reason this guy starts his “business” is that he gets fired and needs money for rent. But… why? There’s literally no urgency to the rent thing when we see him totally palling around with his strange, hairy landlord.
The other big problem here is that this movie could not decide what it was really about. The importance of honesty? What true love really means? Living with others’ faults? Parents shouldn’t try to control their adult children? All of these are thrown around but never fully developed.
The Good News
The good news is that there’s almost nothing morally objectionable in the whole movie. It’s rated PG, and honestly I can’t even remember any language, let alone anything worse. There is the moral ambiguity of the guy’s match-breaking business, in which he lies and one time totally uses a girl who is into him for the purpose of his business, but even in that he kind of ends up “learning his lesson,” so to speak.
So basically, if you want to watch something with actual, non-animated adults in it while your small children are awake but don’t have any expectations of watching something artistically excellent, this would be an okay choice.
Otherwise, skip it. You’re not missing anything.