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Overall Rating
2.48

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 21.21%
Average30.3%
Pretty Bad: 24.24%
Total Crap: 24.24%

3 reviews, 15 user ratings


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My Super Ex-Girlfriend
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by Jay Seaver

"Not as good as it should have been, but good enough."
4 stars

Superheroes are fun.

Why superheroes are fun is something we can easily lose track of when watching a movie that adapts a long-running or popular superhero comic book, because they're immediately seized upon by fans of the source material who dissect them from the moment the studio acquires an option, debating casting, costume choices, what details of the story have been changed. Superheroes are more than nostalgia properties and ready-made brand names; they're also great devices to take stories about anything, build them up larger than life, wrap them up in bright colors, and make them into adventures. Sometimes, it's the superheroes without a history, like the kids in Sky High or G-Girl in My Super Ex-Girlfriend, that make for the best movies.

We see G-Girl (Uma Thurman) foil a jewelry store robbery, and then we're introduced to Matt Saunders, a nice enough architect who has had a string of crazy girlfriends. He meets G-Girl in her secret identity, Jenny Johnson, on the subway, and she rebuffs him until he tries to chase down a guy who swiped her purse. Matt eventually learns Jenny's secret, but still breaks it off when he realizes that she's just another psycho and he's really attracted to Hannah Lewis (Anna Faris), one of his co-workers. Jenny doesn't take it well, and starts tormenting Matt in ways that only a superhero can; he eventually finds himself joining forces with her arch-nemesis Professor Bedlam (Eddie Izzard) out of fear for his own life.

So, what we have here is a pretty standard "girl who just won't let go" scenario, just with more outrageous details. As with most superhero stories, that's both a strength and a weakness. On the one hand, the film features delightfully grandiose slapstick, from the bed that Jenny's movements drive through the wall to the shark she throws into Hannah's bedroom. The problem is that when you blow the ordinary up to superheroic proportions, you also risk diminishing the fantastic. The film is never quite sure what to do with Professor Bedlam, for instance - he's occasionally referred to like he's a for-real supervillain, but most of the time, he's just Barry, a joke of a man still living in his mother's house. That's part of the point, of course, that the larger than life characters have human neuroses, but Barry is seldom allowed to be more than he appears as well as less.

The cast is having enough fun that I can generally overlook that, though. Uma Thurman is the obvious choice to play G-Girl; she's not only got the necessary Amazonian build, but she's got the knack of suddenly making that frame all elbows and knees when she has to show Jenny's insecurity. She's a bitch, but Thurman occasionally gives us an inkling that there's a good woman in there, albeit one who must be approached carefully. Luke Wilson doesn't have nearly so complicated a character; Matt is pretty much what he appears to be. Wilson's job is the funny reaction shot, and he excels at it. In some ways, it's trickier than it looks; the onus is basically on Wilson to convince us the Matt's world is pretty much like ours, except there's a superhero running around, but she's been around enough that people take her for granted. He nails it, not just showing their world as funny, but that he's funny within their world.

The supporting cast bounces off them well. I think this is the first time in roughly ever that Anna Faris has played the sweet girl next door with someone else playing the lunatic that the male lead is stuck with, and it's little surprise that this is the most I've ever liked her in a movie. Rainn Wilson plays Matt's best friend as harmlessly crass. Eddie Izzard amuses as the G-Girl-obsessed villain, kind of pathetic even when he's doing something legitimately threatening. Wanda Sykes is kind of wasted as the boss who does nothing but throw the cold water of a potential sexual-harassment complaint on on Matt & Hannah's attraction, but Tara Thompson and Kevin Townley are appealing as the younger Jenny and Barry.

In a way, Super Ex is another attempt for director Ivan Reitman to recapture the success of Ghostbusters. It's not as good as that film, but does beat Evolution. He doesn't have a particularly distinctive style, but he does have some skill at not letting the comedic elements of a movie like this get away from him, even though the action/adventure ones, being full of plot, tend to want to take control. He's aided in this by Don Payne's script, which has fun with superhero clichés without having the characters get self-referential and throws out enough chuckles to to keep things running smoothly.

I liked how believable Jenny seemed to be as a superhero character. For instance, when she got superpowers, she didn't jump straight to goofy spandex just because it's like that in comic books; she's got a wardrobe of costumes, which seems like something this girl would do. It's not a perfect film, by any means - it often seems like it could have been a lot better if they'd tried just a little harder - but Payne and Reitman arguably do a better job of making G-Girl a fully-formed character than the makers of superhero films based on properties with much more history do.

I do wish the movie had tried a little harder (without, of course, looking like it was trying harder); I like enough about it to recommend it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14854&reviewer=371
originally posted: 08/30/06 11:33:46
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User Comments

2/16/16 oz1701 a germ of a good idea ruined by its execution 2 stars
6/21/10 Man Out 6 Bucks Fun film 4 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. wow this movie wasn't that bad. i thought it was cute :] haha 3 stars
10/01/08 PAUL SHORTT A ONE JOKE FILM THAT RUNS ITS COMEDIC COURSE IN ABOUT 30 MINUTES 1 stars
9/14/08 Natalie Myers Another notch in Uma Turdman's pistol of descent into Harpydom. 1 stars
11/21/06 Michele not a bad idea but not well done 2 stars
11/02/06 Wendy Thompson Superhero my feces! Superheroes DON'T brutally stalk their former lovers! 1 stars
10/17/06 But, duh, Peter S.! Matt didn't have to turn to any life of super-villainy to get boxed around by super-harpy! 1 stars
9/30/06 Jeff Anderson Appallingly unfunny & a sad waste of Thurman in a great role! Awful special effects, too. 1 stars
9/30/06 Regina Haniger Gad! Uma Turdman must be the antichrist! Yuck! Yuck! 1000x Yuck! 1 stars
9/30/06 Jenny Tullwartz Much more atrocious than I imagined it could be and 23 times more preposterous! Zero stars. 1 stars
8/11/06 michael be sure to be drunk before seeing this or wait for the DVD 3 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist My gut say its just another corny concepted perverse comedy& not very funny. 1 stars
7/29/06 Troy M. Grzych The idea was cool, but the movie became too goofy. 3 stars
7/24/06 Mase Probably would've worked better in the 80's,but in a light mood you might enjoy. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Jul-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Dec-2006

UK
  04-Aug-2006 (12A)

Australia
  20-Jul-2006 (M)


Directed by
  Ivan Reitman

Written by
  Don Payne

Cast
  Uma Thurman
  Luke Wilson
  Anna Faris
  Eddie Izzard
  Rainn Wilson
  Wanda Sykes



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