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Talking pictures: Endings sour already bad films

Ben Stiller's character is in for honeymoon surprises, where he also falls for another woman, Michelle Monaghan, in "Heartbreak Kid."
Ben Stiller's character is in for honeymoon surprises, where he also falls for another woman, Michelle Monaghan, in "Heartbreak Kid."
Zade Rosenthal, Paramount Pictures

"The Brave One." A "Death Wish"-style revenge-thriller starring Jodie Foster.

"The Kingdom," a political/war thriller starring Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper and Jason Bateman.

"The Heartbreak Kid," a raunchy, R-rated romantic comedy that reunites Ben Stiller with his "There's Something About Mary" filmmakers the Farrelly brothers.

On the surface, these three movies would seem to have little in common, aside from the fact that they were released close together by major studios — Warner Bros., Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures, respectively.

But the real common thread is that all three have terrible, sour-note endings. We're talking almost epic bad endings. The sort of endings that can ruin an entire movie.

First, let me say that I'm not trying to spoil the endings of the films for those who haven't seen them yet. Though to be honest, it's really not worth investing the time in any of them.

The final 15-minute sequence in "The Brave One" appears to make a pro-vigilante violence statement. It also makes the characters played by Foster and Terrence Howard seem to behave out of character.

"The Kingdom" finale is similarly rah-rah and wrong-headed, suggesting that the solution to the problems in the Middle East is to kill people. Might makes right, or at least violence does.

And the conclusion of "Heartbreak Kid" may be the worst of all, with a final twist at the end that removes any and all sympathy for the title character played by Stiller. Eddie is already pretty unlikable — he practically cheats on his (psychotic) new bride (Malin Akerman) during their honeymoon, but then he does something even worse.

I won't reveal here what happens, but I am wondering what was going through the Farrellys' minds when they came up with that ending (in addition to directing, they are two of the film's five credited screenwriters).

YOU CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH. Things may be a bit bleak right now with narrative feature films, but there are three really good documentaries playing this week: "In the Shadow of the Moon," "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" and "No End in Sight."

Both "Kong," about video-arcade competitions, and "Shadow," a profile of the Apollo space mission astronauts, are currently playing in the Broadway Centre Cinemas (321-0310;

The Iraq War expose "No End in Sight" is this month's free movie in the Sundance Institute Documentary Series (; This one will play Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave.