7/10
Could have been Super
25 July 2006
On paper this looked like a great concept: Average guy on the rebound dates up tight bookish museum curator, who is really a hot Superhero who saves the world on a regular basis. However, director Ivan Reitman and writer Don Payne (of the "Simpson's") almost fatally miscalculate in having their hero G-Girl (played by striking Uma Thurman) come off as a total nut job as both Superhero and secret identity persona Jenny Johnson. The movie even cops to this in a conversation between Jenny and Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) following his rescue by G-Girl from the Statue of Liberty. Jenny curiously asks Matt what was G-Girl like. Matt replies, "She's kind of nutty…" I think the intent was to have Jenny (Thurman) be this lonely young woman, who has no one in her life, isolated by her great physical powers. Thurman does the best she can, but her Jenny is a terrifying mood swing in dire need of Prozac. Luke Wilson is way too breezy in the role reversal of boyfriend and superhero girl friend.

"My Super Ex-Girlfriend" is also a victim of bad timing, coming on the tail end of "Superman Returns" which plays Superhero straight up, so to speak. With all its quirks and inconsistent writing I still thought "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" was funny and enjoyed the movie. Given that this is an Ivan Reitman movie, this could have been a lot better. Reitman starts with a great premise, and really squanders it. First off, we all love the hero. Here neither Jenny nor G-Girl is really all that likable. This is surprising for Uma Thurman, who is normally a charismatic and powerful presence. In the beginning her Jenny/ G-Girl is just plain weird. Shocking. Because if there is a woman who can play a Superhero, she is Thurman—she looks great. Only toward the end does her Jenny become more sympathetic, instead of caricature. Although "My Super Ex" is not a straight Superhero story, rather a romantic comedy of sorts, it does not provide what every Superhero mythology requires—a great super villain. Here we have Professor Bedlam aka Barry (Eddie Izzard) who really is evil lite. He is no Lex Luthor. No plans for Global domination. Bedlam rather Barry does hold a grudge against G-Girl, and expectedly it has to do with their shared past. What is bizarre you don't know who you would rather spend time with—Bedlam or G-Girl? Luke Wilson's Matt is just "some dude" who happens to hook up with the psycho superhero. One of the annoying things he does is that he confides in his repugnant loser friend Vaughn (Rainn Wilson doing a bad whacked out impersonation). Wilson sometimes plays it a little too dense, and this dilutes his likable charm. This does however work, in the comic sex scene with Jenny. Matt while dating Jenny/ G-Girl realizes that he is in love with his co-worker Hannah (perky Anna Faris). So how does Matt break up with G-Girl? Well, it's not pretty and for the most part hilarious.

Dramatic Superhero movies work. Romantic comedies with chemistry work. What may be inherently difficult are Superhero satires disguised as romantic comedies. Everyone loves the hero. However, hero nut job? Maybe not. With all Uma Thurman's talent she is unable to accomplish this convincingly. And she does not get sufficient support from Reitman and Payne. Thurman and Wilson have enough charm and presence to survive their narrative failings. "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" is fun and funny. Though given all involved, the movie could have been super.
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