The Breaker Upperers

COMEDY; 1hr 30min

STARRING: Madeleine Sami, Jackie van Beek

Sami (left) and van Beek survey the scene

At 35 and 40, Mel and Jen (Sami and van Beek, pulling triple duty as co-directors, writers and stars) have been around the romance block. Having been simultaneously cheated on by the same louse, they’ve emerged from it with a dim view of permanence. Putting theory into practice, the best mates of 15 years create a two-person business dedicated to the undoing of ill-assorted couples, with speedy splits guaranteed.


In reality, “helping liberate people from dysfunctional relationships,” as terminally cynical Jen likes to see it, isn’t all plain sailing. Jobs are bungled. Tempers flare. An impersonation of police officers degenerates into a catfight that sees a frustrated and conscience-stricken Mel storming off, with her 17-year-old meathead admirer (James Rolleston) and Jen battling to fly the flag alone.


It’s not entirely fun and games as Mel and Jen come to grips with rights and wrongs, but it’s packed with as many as you’d expect from an Enzed comedy whose executive producer is Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Taika Waititi. Sami, van Beek and their full-on supporting cast are a cinch to take a shine to, whether pulling a fast one or facing its karmic repercussions. How happily apt that a story about the engineering of endings becomes a shout-out to enduring friendships.