My Super Ex-Girlfriend
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My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Back in 1987, a film was released that profoundly changed men, ‘Fatal Attraction.’ The thought that a one night stand could become a horror of psychopathic revenge made many men extremely glad for a stable, monogamous relationship. Now, Ivan Reitman has taken on this premise using the tried and true method of reductio ad absurdum. While ‘Fatal Attraction’ was a complex study of human motivations and inner demons, ‘My Super Ex-Girlfriend’ is a silly romantic comedy with all the depth of a fish tank. Now there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a flick being silly; they are great for a little escapism. This film, however, is a one trick pony that is driving too hard and too long.

While riding the subways of New York City Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) is chided by his friend Vaughn Haige (Rainn Wilson) to ask a meek-looking young woman sitting a few seats away out on a date. The woman, Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman) declines the offer, but when her purse is snatched, and Matt chases the thief and retrieves it, she agrees to go out with him. Unknown by Matt Jenny is the secret identity of G-Girl, a costumed superheroine that routinely saves the day in the Big Apple. While on their first date at a local restaurant Jenny seems nervous and just a tad neurotic until her super hearing detects a large fire downtown. She excuses herself ostensibly to go to the ladies room but changes into her costume and puts out the fire. When she returns, Matt is a little suspicious of the soot on her face. Jenny rapidly becomes more aggressive and wanting. After a few dates they are at Matt’s apartment, and she initiates a sexual relationship. What transpires next may seem like any man’s fantasy. Walls break, the bed is in ruin, and Matt is completely exhausted. At first, it doesn’t seem to matter to Matt that he has to limp away from the encounter.

Several nights later Jenny takes Matt to her apartment and tells him that she is G-Girl. She explains that one night in high school she was with her friend Barry (Eddie Izzard) in the backseat of his car. Before things could go where they expected, a meteor crashes nearby, and Jenny goes to investigate. Before the couple knew what was going on, the meteor explodes, and Jenny is left with a new killer body. She becomes the most popular girl in school leaving poor Barry flat. She has become G-Girl and Barry transforms himself into her arch nemesis, Professor Bedlam.

Now, what is a romantic comedy without a love triangle? In this story, it comes in the form of a young woman who works in the same architectural firm as Matt, Hannah Lewis (Anna Faris). Matt has had a crush bordering on love for her but never made his move. The banter between the two is flirtatious much to the ire of their boss, Carla Dunkirk (Wanda Sykes), who is always threatening Matt with sexual harassment charges for his playful behavior with Hannah. When Matt tries to set up a double date with him and Jenny along with Hannah and another man the other guy fails to show leaving just the three of them. Jenny is called away to save the day again and returns to find Matt and Hannah hugging. Jenny becomes jealous while Matt realizes that he wants to be with Hannah. When he dumps Jenny, she doesn’t take the news very well. She uses her superpowers to inflict every possible humiliation and physical pain on Matt that she can devise. She throws a great white shark into the room where Matt is with Hannah, tosses his car into space and uses her heat vision to carve ‘DICK’ into his forehead. Eventually, Matt is approached by Professor Bedlam with a plan to strip G-Girl of her powers. What ensues is some general mayhem and misadventures.

Ivan Reitman has directed some of my favorite ‘silly’ movies including ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Meatballs,’ ‘Twins’ and ‘Stripes.’ In all of those cases there was something special about the flicks; with all the goofiness they had a heart. This was the missing element in this film. The script didn’t afford the audience a chance to care about the characters. It is much easier to accept a thin plot if the characters are given a chance to be human enough for the viewer to identify with. Here, the characters are one dimensional, without any real depth. The one joke takes too long in the set up with too little payoff. Jenny is supposed to be a contrast to a super powerful woman who is psychologically damaged, needed and driven by no noble characteristics at all. Matt seems to drift through the story instead of trying to cope. The basic premise is a great idea. If they focus was more on Jenny trying to find some normal balance in life instead of having us wait for the special effects of her revenge, there would have been more of a foundation for the jokes.

The one thing this film does have going for it is a fantastic, albeit underused, cast. Luke Wilson has a natural, almost underplayed sense of comedy. He can be the good-looking guy that men can identify with, and woman can be interested in. In this film, he is too much of the victim to show his laid-back style. I can’t think of a film genre that Uma Thurman has not been successful in. She has done drama, action and now is branching out to comedy. Like her previous romantic comedy, ‘Prime’ she uses the juxtaposition of her beauty with acting ditzy. She has the potential for this type of acting but so far hasn’t found the right vehicle to grow. She can move from the shy, slightly neurotic Jenny to the vengeful Jenny with ease and that did help a lot here. Anna Faris is no stranger to the silly flick after her ‘Scary Movie’ stints. Here she is the straight person that has to hold the plot together. Rainn Wilson is just coming into his own as a quirky character actor. With his television work including ‘Six Feet Under’ and now the American version of ‘The Office,’ he can add a little something special to almost anything he is in.

Fox presents this film in a format that is not as popular as it once was, one containing both the Pan & Scan and widescreen video on one release. Usually, a studio would offer a choice between the two, but the lackluster box office may have pushed them to a single release. The video is well done with a very good color balance and contrast. The audio is very nice using all the speakers to reinforce the action sequences. There are some extras provided including an extended shark cut, five deleted scenes, and a music video. This is an okay flick for a rainy weekend where you have another couple over for a meal. Both men and women will find a bit to laugh at although for different reasons.

Posted 12/01/06                Posted 04/12/2018

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