Movie Review: ‘The Breaker Upperers’


Directors: Madeleine Sami, Jackie van Beek

Cast: Madeleine Sami, Jackie van Beek, James Rolleston, Celia Pacquola, Ana Scotney

Plot: Jen and Mel are best friends who run a business breaking up couples, sometimes through elaborate deceptions. When Mel shows interest in a young client and Jen is confronted by her harsh outlook their friendship is threatened.

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Review: One thing is very clear about The Breaker Upperers…it’s an indie film that the actors/writers/directors have clearly put a lot of themselves into. For that very reason I feel a bit shitty that this is going to be a bad review. Both Sami and van Beek are very charming in their dual lead roles and they have good comedic timing. The cast on the whole are very entertaining. Certainly can’t fault the movie on that front.

What holds the movie back lies more in the concept and script. The marketable concept – that these two women run a business breaking up unhappy couples – feels sidelined. From the get-go it doesn’t seem like an idea that can be stretched out to feature film length but even in the small amount of time spent on this side of the story is under-utilised. We never learn how they got into this industry, nor do they ever address why they do it. The ‘Breaker Upperer’ part of The Breaker Upperers is largely skimmed over in montages, most of which are featured in the trailer.

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The real plot concerns the friendship between Jen and Mel, which is the strength of the movie, but the script is so spotty and disjointed that this also runs out of steam long before the meagre running time caps out. The characters act in completely illogical ways and with so little backstory established it’s hard to follow their motivations.

In spite of the talent of the leads the film fails to hit the mark in terms of comedy. Quite often the jokes get stretched to breaking point, attempting to turn it into a ‘cringe’ comedy routine. This style of humour may have fallen out of favour in recent years, but it could still work, but The Breaker Upperers don’t seem to know what to do with the situation once they set it up. Sometimes they lean into shock value and it just falls flat.

Maybe this just isn’t my style of comedy but we didn’t find much to recommend this lacklustre comedy.

Rating: TWO out of TEN

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