The Heartbreak Kid (1972 film)
|The Heartbreak Kid|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Elaine May|
|Produced by||Edgar J. Scherick|
|Written by||Neil Simon
Bruce Jay Friedman (story)
Palomar Pictures International
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|December 17, 1972|
|Box office||$5,600,000 (rentals)|
The Heartbreak Kid is a 1972 dark romantic comedy film directed by Elaine May, written by Neil Simon, and starring Charles Grodin, Jeannie Berlin, Eddie Albert, Audra Lindley, Doris Roberts and Cybill Shepherd. It is based on the short story "A Change of Plan", written by Bruce Jay Friedman.
It is #91 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs, a list of the funniest American movies ever made.
Plot and theme
A black comedy examination of love and hypocrisy loosely based on Theodore Dreiser's classic novel, An American Tragedy (and thereby recalling an earlier, well-regarded film of Dreiser's novel, A Place in the Sun), the satire begins with the New York City traditional Jewish marriage of emotionally shallow, self-absorbed, "nebbish"-man-boy, Lenny Cantrow, who is a sporting goods salesman (Charles Grodin). While on honeymoon at the Doral Hotel on Miami Beach, he meets and pursues a tall, blonde, Midwestern, seductively bitchy, but sarcastically witty and gorgeous, student named Kelly Corcoran (Cybill Shepherd). His unsophisticated and emotionally needy bride, Lila (Jeannie Berlin, daughter of director, Elaine May), refuses to use sunscreen and consequently develops a severe sunburn, which quarantines her in their hotel room. Lenny begins a rendezvous with Kelly, lying to his wife as to his whereabouts. Lenny recklessly and impulsively decides to dump Lila, ending his ephemeral marriage, in order to pursue unloving Kelly, his false ideal, and ultimate fantasy shiksa-goddess. (The girl he was "waiting for all of his life". He just "timed it wrong".) She is attending college in Minnesota, where her somewhat bigoted, suspicious and overprotective, hostile father (Eddie Albert) is a relentless obstacle. Despite Mr. Corcoran's opposition, which includes trying to buy him off with $25,000 (following a dinner during which Lenny inanely praises Midwestern produce, calling cauliflower "honest"), Lenny manages to seduce and marry Kelly. The movie ends with their wedding.
- Charles Grodin as Lenny Cantrow
- Cybill Shepherd as Kelly Corcoran
- Jeannie Berlin as Lila Kolodny
- Audra Lindley as Mrs. Corcoran
- Eddie Albert as Mr. Corcoran
- Doris Roberts as Mrs. Cantrow
- Martin Sherman as Mr. Johnson
- Chevy Chase as Bellhop
The film has received almost universal praise from critics, with a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Notably, The New York Times declared it to be "a first-class American comedy, as startling in its way as was The Graduate."
Awards and honors
American Film Institute recognition
- 2000: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs #91
- 1972: nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Jeannie Berlin) and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Eddie Albert)
- 1972: nominated for Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Charles Grodin), Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture (Jeannie Berlin), and Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay (Neil Simon)