Image courtesy of www.impawards.com
Uma Thurman……….Jenny Johnson/G-Girl
Luke Wilson……….Matt Saunders
Anna Faris……….Hannah Lewis
Super hero movies are reaching the same point that horror films featuring zombies have attained in cinematic story telling. It’s not at a peak in popularity or creativity as the genre still produces some of the best and most popular films of the year. Super hero films have reached the point where they’ve established enough serious bona fides that using the genre for comedic purposes is well within reach. After last year’s critical hit Sky High had moderate commercial success with a cast comprised of character actors and teenagers, Luke Wilson stars in My Super Ex-Girlfriend.
Matt Saunders (Wilson) is your average everyman in the midst of an odd love triangle by any conventional standard. Having met the love of his life Hannah (Anna Faris) at his place of employment, Matt is left to deal with his current girlfriend Jenny (Uma Thurman). While normally this would be sufficient for comedic purposes in and of itself, the kicker is that Jenny isn’t just the neurotic librarian he thinks she is. Jenny is a superhero in the vein of Superman; gifted with superhuman strength, freezing breath and the ability to fly (amongst others), she doesn’t take being dumped well. That is to say she doesn’t take it well in any sense of the word.
Whereas in a conventional comedy Jenny would get back at Matt in conventional ways, having super powers allows her to exact revenge on him in much more interesting ways. Besides destroying his apartment, Jenny throws a shark at the new couple and tosses his car around like it was a baseball.
My Super Ex-Girlfriend has one major weakness in that its not scripted or paced as well as it could’ve been. Ivan Reitman has made plenty of great comedies, including Twins and Kindergarten Cop, but he doesn’t have the luxury of having a star in his prime in both drawing power and charisma like Arnold Schwarzenegger. His cast is charismatic enough to make everything work but the sort of sheer charisma needed to take the film from good to great isn’t there. There are plenty of unique gags involving things that are never really touched upon in the genre; sex between the superhero and a normal person hasn’t been explored too often, but the interactions between Wilson and Thurman as well as the event itself are shockingly funny. Wilson is given some great material to work with in that regard. The film itself isn’t a strong one if only because it’s plot is a little on the thin side, but the humor is really well done.
The film’s other big weakness is its structure; the time between the end of the first act and the film’s climactic finale isn’t long enough nor is it filled with enough story to lead to a stronger finish. There’s not enough development between the time Matt and Jenny get together until the time they break up to make several story points as strong as they could be. It feels rushed and it’s possible that to get the running time down to the 90 minutes or so required out of the genre that some choice material be cut. The key to the film is its acting strength. While the film also has erratic pacing which disrupts the flow for large portions of time, the film’s saving grace is that it is well cast. The two major characters in the film, Jennie and Matt, are not written well but have enough put in to them by Thurman and Wilson to make them good characters.
Wilson is a very under-rated actor who is just now beginning to get bigger recognition and better roles. After being good enough to merit dark horse consideration for an Academy Award nomination in The Family Stone, Wilson’s Matt isn’t a different variation of the usual characters he plays. Much like his brother Owen he tends to play the same type of character, just in different situations, but Wilson takes some choice material and gets some solid laughs out of it. While it’s usual for superhero movies to feature women in distress, the fact that Wilson is in the sort of “Lois Lane” type role makes it interesting on that fact alone. Wilson wisely underplays a lot of the material, bringing a more realistic tone to the interactions between him and his super-powered lover. Uma Thurman plays off this as well, over-playing with a gleeful zealousness her role as the noted savior of New York. She looks to be having a great time as both halves of her character, playing her role so over the top that when juxtaposed against Wilson it meshes to become a completed comedy coupling. The two have strong chemistry and timing with one another in what comes down to three characters, essentially, and Thurman is able to balance everything out.
|InsidePulse’s Ratings for My Super Ex-Girlfriend
||RATING(OUT OF 10)