Directed by: Madeleine Sami & Jackie van Beek
Written by: Madeleine Sami & Jackie van Beek
Starring: Madeleine Sami, Jackie van Beek, James Rolleston, Celia Pacquola
The act of breaking up with someone can be classified as one of the most difficult relational things to do in life. You have to talk to someone who may still want to be in a relationship and tell them you don’t see a future in this partnership. It creates awkward conversations, which may end in a handshake at best, and tears and anger at its worst. Luckily, The Breaker Upperers shows us a service where all of the awkwardness can be avoided.
Longtime friends, Mel (Madeleine Sami) and Jennifer (Jackie van Beek) have started an agency where they can help their clients break up with their significant other. They will devise elaborate plans to help end any relationship for a fee and their creativity blossoms from pretending to be police officers and faking pregnancies. The latest case of a young rugby player begins to cause tension as Mell starts to break some of their rules.
The premise of this feature is incredibly hilarious, as it details the service provided by our two leads. It seems so ridiculous but I cannot lie when I state I would most likely have used them when I was in the dating game. As someone, who has never broken up with people well, this service seems to be the perfect way to avoid the awkwardness of it all and get to the same end result. With such a great premise, it all comes down to the execution, which fired on all cylinders.
Leading the film were Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek, who also directed the feature. Their partnership in front and behind the camera worked exceptionally well because of the comedic power of their style. They utilize their homeland of New Zealand to tell a unique story and it works out for the best as the characters feel distinct to that nation. Their imprint shows complete ownership as they also penned the script. I’ve never seen them work together in the past but giving them the opportunity to fully craft this feature shows two incredibly hilarious women putting together something special. They follow in the footsteps of someone like Taika Waititi, who has shined a light on the New Zealand and Māori culture on international platforms. They bring their own distinct style and demonstrate New Zealand has plenty to offer in the entertainment world with their incredible comedic sensibilities.
The elaborate nature of their agency adds its own bit of comedy, especially with the running gag of them being police officers, pretending their clients have gone missing, and the body cannot be found. The gag, at first, is incredibly funny but as the film progresses, the impact of their work begins to show. One person, in particular, refuses to give up on their missing significant other and shows the inherent flaws in the work the two women do. They get paid to cover up for people unwilling to have an honest conversation with a significant other as to why their relationship no longer has a future.
Even with all of the gags and funny moments, at the center of the story remains the friendship between Mel and Jennifer. A terrible situation bonded them and they have learned to flourish with each other. Moments of tension arise as does with any story about two friends, but their love and care show why they were always meant to be friends. Their moments of care paired with the crass comedic moments creates for a nice balance of humor along with scenes worth warming your heart.
The Breaker Upperers provides plenty of laughs mashed together with lots of love. Something fitting for two women hired to formally end relationships. The execution lives up to the hilarious and original premise it provides and shows two women who had the opportunity to write, direct, and act in their own feature and did not squander the opportunity. This is definitely a film worth giving a shot because of the two leads, but also all of the side characters and the way they weave through the entire feature and make life difficult for both Mel and Jennifer. All the jokes land and help deliver such a beautifully pleasant and sneakily profound feature film.