How to lose a wife in 10 days

In a 1972 review, New York Times critic Vincent Canby declared The Heartbreak Kid “a first-class American comedy, as startling

In a 1972 review, New York Times critic Vincent Canby declared The Heartbreak Kid “a first-class American comedy, as startling in its way as was The Graduate.” The story of a not-so-nice Jewish Boy (Charles Grodin) who marries a nice Jewish Girl (Jeannie Berlin) and spends his honeymoon trying to dump her (after falling for shiksa goddess Cybill Shepherd), Kid is a hilarious stew of class commentary, ethnic self-loathing, and just plain bad manners — a blueprint for the cringe humor of current-day talents like Ricky Gervais and Larry David.

The film’s genius lies in the comic magic of director Elaine May, writer Neil Simon, and leading man Grodin, not to mention the gut-wrenchingly funny Berlin (May’s real daughter) and the underappreciated Eddie Albert, who steals his few scenes as Shepherd’s disapproving proto-WASP dad.

A Ben Stiller remake opens today, but with all due respect, what’s the point? This movie got it right the first time.

Correction: The first publish of this article mistakenly referred to New York Times critic Vincent Canby as Vincent Camby. We regret the error.

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