Sunday, August 06, 2006

Movie Review: "My Super Ex-Girlfriend"

Starring Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, Anna Faris, Rainn Wilson, Eddie Izzard, Wanda Sykes
Directed by Ivan Reitman

Official Web site

While the film’s premise is ultimately more clever than its execution, “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” is able to largely slide by on the energy and likeability of its solid cast.

In a twist on both superhero and romantic comedy genres, “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” positions Uma Thurman as the seemingly unstoppable superhero G-Girl, while Matt Sanders (Luke Wilson) has unknowingly started to date Jenny Johnson, her alter-ego. Problem is that Jenny, while appearing to be a nice, timid soul on initial dates, is also a jealous, emotionally unstable woman deep inside.

Still, Matt is intrigued by her, especially her aggressiveness in his bed (she actually breaks it during one coupling). This leads to Jenny eventually falling in love with Matt, to whom she reveals her secret identity. Naturally, most any guy that realizes he’s having sex with a superhero is going to be pretty excited about it. But for Matt, the news carries a decreasing level of thrills as time goes on. For one, he can’t tell anybody – not even a pair of good friends and co-workers Vaughn and Hannah (Rainn Wilson and Anna Faris).

His relationship with the latter is a very sore spot for Jenny, who views Hannah as a threat to her new man. Matt, meanwhile, starts to see Jenny’s darker, borderline psychotic side. He decides to try to end the relationship amicably, to which Jenny responds by trying to fry his goldfish with her heat vision before leaving his apartment – through his ceiling. This is just the beginning of her campaign to make Matt’s life a living hell, literally sending his car into orbit, as well as wreaking havoc on his career.

The screenplay by Don Payne (an occasional writer on “The Simpsons”) has some fun with the superhero genre by placing a woman, albeit a neurotic and unstable one, as the person with the power. Casting Thurman was a wise choice, as her beauty and near-Amazonian size makes you believe she could be a superhero. Being not that far removed from her very physical role in the “Kill Bill” movies certainly helps.

Wilson also does some fine work as a confidence-challenged man who is at first excited, then concerned, then outright terrified at what this new relationship could mean for his life. Although the film incorporates a good supporting cast, who all get some decent moments, Wilson, Farris and Wanda Sykes, as Matt’s sexual harassment-obsessed boss, aren’t utilized to their full potential. That’s especially true of Eddie Izzard as Professor Bedlam, the supposed archenemy of G-Girl. Izzard is given relatively little to do, as his role as the film’s supervillain is never developed or explained beyond an incident in his and Jenny’s childhood.

Much like he did in '80s hits like the “Ghostbusters” movies, director Ivan Reitman demonstrates a skill with comedic action, but this is more an example of the talent outclassing the material. In a summer with superheros and larger-than-life characters filling the screen, this one just doesn’t fly very high.

Grade: B-
(Rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude humor, language and brief nudity.)

No comments: