The Breaker Upperers Is The Funniest, New Zealand-est Movie on Netflix

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The Breaker Upperers stars Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami as Jen and Mel, two women who—when cheated on by the same man—decide to start a company breaking up other couples. Their clients range from stressed teens trying to end a summer romance to married mothers of two who want to fake their deaths and flee the country. “Just because we got gay marriage doesn’t mean we have to participate,” explains one client whose boyfriend wants to tie the knot. “I mean, I didn’t vote for it.” Enter the Breaker Upperers to solve the problem: showing up at the wedding in a fake baby belly to yell, “You weren’t gay eight months ago!” From faking pregnant to making out with a client to staging a kidnapping, the Breaker Upperers will cross any line—that is, until Mel develops a conscience (and, even more problematically, starts to make friends outside of Jen).

Over the course of the 90-minute movie, Mel and Jen work, fight, and get up to some pitch-perfect hijinks. Gags include (but are not limited to): an excellent 80s-inspired music video karaoke montage; Mel’s frequent discussion of practicing versus non-practicing bisexuality; constant Celine Dion; day-drinking; a singing break-up telegram; and the incorrect lengthening of Mel’s name to “Melon.” There is also a good deal more of one character driving off and leaving another stranded on the roadside than one might expect.

The conflict between Jen and Mel is not only that Mel beings breaking the rules by dating a (much younger) client, Jordan, but also that they have fundamentally different experiences with heartbreak. “Think about it like a big tree that’s blocking out the light,” Jen says, when a client’s jilted girlfriend questions their methods. “You could either stand by and watch that tree die of natural causes over about 200 years—”

“I think what Jen was trying to say is that this is yucky! This is not ideal!” finishes Mel.

The film is both funny and heartfelt, exploring the intersections between reactions against heartbreak and true friendship. Jen and Mel’s relationship, messy and profane as it is, is the driving force towards what becomes a surprisingly tender end. There are a few moments in the movie that ring false—Jordan’s ex-girlfriend Sepa and her crew of friends are better in moderation than in extended montages—but overall, both the jokes and the heart leave the viewer satisfied.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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