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The Heartbreak Kid is a 1972 dark comedy - romantic comedy film directed by Elaine May, written by Neil Simon, and starring Charles Grodin, Jeannie Berlin, and Cybill Shepherd.

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 Akerman.

Plot and theme

A black comedy examination of love and hypocrisy, the satire begins with the New York Citymarker traditional Jewish marriage of emotionally-shallow, self-absorbed nebbish-man-boy, Lenny Cantrow, a sporting goods salesman, (Charles Grodin). While honeymooning at the Doral Hotel on Miami Beachmarker, he meets and pursues a tall, blonde, Midwest WASP, seductively bitchy, but sarcastically witty and gorgeous, coed 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 Minnesotamarker, 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 dad. 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, ultimately a pathetic Lenny, who brought about his own anguish, never fully comprehends.

Awards and honors

American Film Institute recognition

Cast



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