It’s almost March, meaning Feminist February is drawing to a close. I’m sad the month is ending, but happy to report we’re wrapping up this month on a positive note with dramatic break-ups, surprise Kiwi cameos, and all of the ’90s vibes you can stand.
The Breaker Upperers
Two best friends find their relationship and shared business venture in jeopardy when clients get too close and an ex arrives in town.
In addition to being besties, New Zealanders Mel and Jen are business partners in a rather unique profession. Their job? Deliver bad break-up news for those who go to extreme measures to avoid it themselves. The duo can hardly be faulted for lacking creativity; their methods include song and dance, fake deaths, police investigations, and surprise pregnancies.
Though a rather cynical line of work, Mel and Jen run a profitable business and enjoy living their best lives free of romantic entanglements.
That is, of course, until the day everything changes. After Jordan, a sweet but clueless client, walks into the office, he disrupts the usually reliable business model. Mel feels guilty for using Jordan’s unhappiness to make money and happens to find him quite attractive too.
Complications abound when Jen’s ex, who also seems to be the one that got away, arrives back in town. His presence surfaces tensions between Mel and Jen as he was dating both women secretly when he broke Jen’s heart.
Despite Mel’s misgivings about the latest breakup case, the duo arrives at Jordan’s rugby match to cause a scene. Jordan’s girlfriend Sepa is a tough lady, and not one to be trifled with. As a result, when Mel pretends to be Jordan’s pregnant lover and Jen his mother, the plan does not go as expected. However, at the end of the day, Jordan is single and Mel is free to have a fling with him.
Meanwhile, the ladies’ history catches up with them as a client’s girlfriend approaches them at lunch for an update on her partner’s disappearance. Mel and Jen demonstrate an impressive commitment to keeping up the facade that they are cops investigating the case, going so far as to show up at the police station in full uniform and posing as birthday strippers for a real cop.
Inevitably, the true nature of Mel and Jen’s work is revealed, leaving Mel feeling guilty. A fight between our dynamic duo about Mel becoming too attached to clients and Jen avoid feelings altogether finally breaks up the band.
As both Sepa and Jen have been ditched and want their partners back, it’s time for a grand gesture to prove their devotion. But is an expertly choreographed K-Ci and JoJo dance routine enough to heal old wounds and reunite these former besties?
4/5 Pink Panther Heads
I feel this movie was made for the Blog Collab. Obviously the pro-friendship/anti-romantic themes are everywhere in some of our favorite picks. Also the weird, offbeat humor had me in tears. Mel makes an especially cringeworthy joke about a superhero named Vulvarine during dinner with Jen’s parents that cracked me up.
My only criticism here is that Mel’s bisexuality seems to be mentioned purely for laughs. I got tired of all of the jokes about Jen and Mel being romantically involved. Friends, lovers, life partners–who cares?
Though this is not a musical, we get not one, but two incredibly ’90s-influenced song and dance numbers. The first one, set to a Céline Dion song, is everything to me. I pray to the powers of the universe that the next film with our two stars is a musical or just a series of music video parodies.
I love both of our leads, Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek (who also co-wrote and directed this film), but honestly Ana Scotney as Sepa steals the show. She manages to inhabit the tough girl stereotype while lending the role a vulnerability hidden beneath the surface. Sepa also gets my absolute favorite line of the film when the breakup with Jordan throws her for a loop: “All the times we played Dragon Ball Z–does that mean nothing to you?”
Speaking of this film’s cast, there are some delightful cameos here too. I know you can just Google the cast, but the fun of these appearances is in the surprise.