The Heartbreak Kid (1972 film)

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)
Starring Charles Grodin
Cybill Shepherd
Jeannie Berlin
Eddie Albert
Audra Lindley
Cinematography Owen Roizman
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) December 17, 1972 (1972-12-17)
Running time 106 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Heartbreak Kid is a 1972 dark romantic comedy film directed by Elaine May, written by Neil Simon, and starring Charles Grodin, Jeannie Berlin, and Cybill Shepherd. It is based on the short story "A Change of Plan", written by Bruce Jay Friedman.

Jeannie Berlin was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Eddie Albert was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

It is #91 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs, a list of the funniest movies ever made.

It was remade in 2007 as The Heartbreak Kid starring Ben Stiller and Malin Åkerman.


Plot and theme

A black comedy examination of love and hypocrisy, the satire begins with the New York City traditional Jewish marriage of emotionally-shallow, self-absorbed, "nebbish"-man-boy, Lenny Cantrow, 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 overly-protective, hostile father (Eddie Albert) is a relentless obstacle.

Because of his lack of depth and lusty adolescent anxiety, an ongoing comedy of errors befalls Lenny during his courtship with Kelly. Each scene peels back the converging of the morally bankrupt superficial and narcissistic personalities of the characters: Lenny, Kelly, and her father. It is hyperbole, irony, pointed disregard, and lack of empathy played out as a moral fable, a lesson for the audience to consider before making any permanent life-changing relationship choices, which a pathetic Lenny, who brought about his own anguish, never fully comprehends.

Awards and honors

American Film Institute recognition


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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