Wednesday, 27 December 2006

My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)

Son Frere

On paper My Super Ex-Girlfriend looks like a wonderful, original and inventive variation on the rom-com (romantic comedy) theme. Tradition dictates that when you make a rom-com you stick rigidly to a well-proven formula that goes something like this: Girl loves boy and boy loves girl but hasn't realised it yet. Seemingly insurmountable obstacles get placed in boy and girl's way, with most of the running time of the film being dedicated to a series of misunderstandings that make it look like boy and girl will never hook up. The short, rushed final act suddenly has boy and girl finding the path to true love and living happily ever after. The end.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend sticks to that tried and trusted formula. So far so clichéd. But it adds in a super-hero twist, making the obligatory 'alternative love interest' that threatens the relationship of our boy and girl heroes, a paranoid and vicious 'ex' with scary powers that introduces the possibilities for a lot of laughs.

It's an idea that could have conceivably grabbed not just the usual female demographic for this rom-com genre, but its boyfriends too. There's potential here for a film that could have been not just original and funny, but a a great 'date' movie as well. Unfortunately, something appears to have gone seriously wrong between having the basic idea and producing the finished film, and most of that 'something' is down to appallingly bad casting, although a lazy, weak script should take its fair share of the blame too!

You know a film's in trouble when the blurb on the DVD sleeve has to keep telling you how 'hilarious' it is. The cast are at such great pains in the accompanying featurettes to tell you they took this gig because they found themselves laughing loud and hard at the scripts, one has to wonder if they had the script for an entirely different movie that they confused with this one. Watch the trailer and you've seen ALL the funny bits (of which there are, thankfully, a few - just not enought to sustain more than a trailer-length featurette)!

That being said, rom-coms aren't necessarily expected to be laugh-out-loud funny and the film could have easily succeeded with the right cast and a slightly tighter script. Alas Uma Thurman, as the main female lead, is woefully miscast, making her character so over-the-top that it's hard to have any sympathy for her. And when you don't have any sympathy for one of the main characters that are destined to find true love by the end of the film, it's hard to care about what happens to her, or anybody else around her that features in the film. Luke Wilson is amiable enough as the male lead who doesn't realise the love of his life, as played by Anna Faris, is right under his nose but his performance suffers in comparison with the same identikit role that was played, also opposite Faris, in Scary Movie 4 by Craig Bierko. Bierko has more charisma, more laughs and, let's face it, more sex appeal, than Wilson is able to deliver in what comes across as a me-too spoof movie that fails to reach even the relatively low laughter count set by the Scary Movie franchise.

But the biggest flaw in casting is that of Eddie Izzard as the chief villain and main love interest for the paranoid heroine. Cast as a good looking young teen in flashback scenes that show how Thurman's character gained her powers, the character morphs into a short, dumpy, camp, lisping caricature that one just can't see Thurman's character ever having any romantic feelings for. There is absolutely no chemistry here - and it's blindingly obvious in every scene the two have together. Every time Izzard's on screen the film stops and you're suddenly transported into Izzard's more usual milieu of the 'one man stand-up surreal comedy show'. Someone really should have told him to look up the words 'ensemble' and 'acting' in the dictionary!

It's not all bad. There are some good ideas in here, and the plot is original, with the cast, for the most part, delivering their lines with a joie de vivre that almost makes you overlook the weak, muddled script and poor casting choices. Special effects scenes are well done, and Owen's general affability, together with Faris' natural charm and 'cooky-but-innocent dumb blonde' temperament make the film less of a chore than many other rom-coms I've had to sit through. But it all comes across as a wasted opportunity, and a film that could have been so much better if a few more jokes had been written into the script and a different cast put in place so that some on-screen chemistry could occur.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend screencap

Picture quality is excellent and the transfer is as good as one would expect of a film as recent as this one. Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is adequate, if not stunning, as one would expect given the basic romantic comedy theme of the film.

The two short featurettes are marketing fluff for the most part, with far too much talking up of the movie from its cast, but better than expected for this type of film (rom com's, in my experience, tend to be very much bare bones releases). There's a short five minute featurette on how the film's showcase effects scene involving a shark was put together, which seems out-of-wack for the target audience for the film, but is interesting nevertheless, and the package is rounded out with a music video from Molly McQueen and some deleted scenes. The deleted scenes could as easily have been included as excluded in the feature, without having much effect on the overall film or its running time, but these days one should be grateful for any such crumbs I guess.

If you're looking for a date movie, or have a thing for Uma Thurman (who, it must be said, looks stunning when in her superhero role) then this is probably worth a rental. Or if you have a big bag of popcorn and want something light to unwind with it's worth a look. Otherwise I'd advise giving it a miss.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend screencap

1 comment:

Ricky said...

I love this movie and ur right