My Super Ex Girlfriend

July 20th, 2006 Film, Film Reviews, Xpress

Directed by Ivan Reitman

Starring Uma Thurman, Stuart Wilson, Anna Faris, Eddie Izzard

Ivan Reitman should be Hollywood royalty, having directed some of the biggest stars in the world in a disparate range of comedic styles over the last 25 years, including the biggest comedy of all, Ghostbusters.

What he is however is a bit of a journeyman. Most of his films contain reliable chuckles but nothing that sticks with you for long after you’ve left the cinema, and My Super Ex Girlfriend is no exception.

Something of a one-joke comedy, it takes an everyday concept and transports it to the comic reaches of ‘what if’. A lot of us have had psycho exes who flip out when we dump them and obsess about getting revenge on us, as Reitman hypothesises. What if that ex happened to be a superhero that turned their formidable powers on us, committing acts of vandalism and violence beyond the usual prawn shells sewed into the lining of suits or car full of fish heads?

How about launching our car into orbit or throwing a killer shark through the window of our apartment building while we’re with our new lover — prompting the most absurdly funny line in the whole film; ‘Why did G Girl just throw a shark at us?’

Average dolt Matt (Wilson) finds himself in that very situation when he breaks it off with mild mannered gallery manager Jenny Johnson. Problem is, every time a fire breaks out in a skyscraper or a rogue missile heads for New York, Jenny becomes G Girl, using her super powers of flight and incredible strength to avert disaster.

She’s very much the wrong girl to try to end a relationship with (even if your bed is repeatedly rammed against the wall from the vigour of your sex life), and when Matt tries to let the pathologically clingy and jealous Jenny down easily, things turn nasty.

There are as many laughs as you can expect from the running time but ironically (and despite an adult outlook), My Super Ex Girlfriend comes across most of the time like a good-natured romantic comedy for pre-teens. A more scathing, cynical and real-world (yes, even with the superhero) version could have been much more caustic and much funnier.

Part of the problem is in the casting. Wilson has a quirky air that worked in film like The Royal Tenebaums but he can’t muster the smarts or the charisma to play the leading man in something like this, reduced most of the time to a bumbling caricature.

And while Thurman is beautiful and talented, the sometime muse of Quentin Tarantino never looks comfortable in ‘normal’ films (such as My Super Ex Girlfriend and the ill-conceived Ben Affleck action vehicle Paycheck). And Eddie Izzard simply makes you realise how much the dialogue misfires because of the absence of his usual wit.

Too many cliches make it anything truly original, like the comic sidekick/ladykiller best friend Vaughan (Rainn Wilson), but the concept wrings out a few mostly-deserved laughs.


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