My Super Ex-Girlfriend Review

In My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Luke Wilson plays New York architect Matt Saunders, a romantic guy who doesn't have a lot of luck with women. He pines over his beautiful, unavailable workmate Hannah (Anna Faris), who's seeing a male model. The girls he does date invariably turn out to have screws loose. On the subway one day, his best friend Vaughn (Rainn Wilson) pushes him into chatting up a pretty, mousy brunette in glasses (Uma Thurman). At first she gives him the cold shoulder but after he rescues her purse from a bag-snatcher, she decides to give him a chance. Matt learns her name is Jennifer Johnson, she works in an uptown art gallery and her idea of great sex usually finishes with the bed destroyed. Things seem to be looking up for Matt.

But are they? There are a couple of minor details he doesn't yet know about his new girlfriend. One: she's a superhero. As the blonde, stautuesque G-Girl, she can fly, spin like a tornado, pick up a car and fire lasers with her eyes. That's the less scary thing. Two: she's a grade A bunny-boiler. She's possessive, she's jealous of Matt's friendship with Hannah, she throws violent tantrums and, when Matt decides enough is enough, she does not take being dumped well. Oh no, she does not take being dumped well at all.

A clever screwball comedy about superheroes, My Super Ex-Girlfriend is silly as hell and high as a kite on its own silliness. It's one of the most purely enjoyable films I've seen this year. How rare and pleasing to see a contemporary Hollywood comedy that starts out with a great concept and then actually makes the effort to build on it and have fun with it. In fact it's rare just to see a live action comedy that delivers the same wit and invention as the better animated movies. I've been grumbling lately that this summer's allegedly grown-up blockbusters haven't been a patch on kids' fare like Cars and Over The Hedge. At last, here's one that does compete.

This is something of a comeback for director Ivan Reitman, the comedy veteran who made Stripes and Ghostbusters. He's been coasting recently with lesser movies like Six Days, Seven Nights and Evolution - films that aren't exactly bad but don't do much more than pass the time pleasantly. Working from a good script this time, he's back to his old self. He nails all the big laughs, he never lets the pace flag and he keeps the running time to a brisk, comedy-friendly 96 minutes.

The casting is perfect and everyone looks like they're having a great time, starting with Uma Thurman. She's both funny and scary as the super-stalker of the title. She plays G-Girl like a comic spin on the Bride from Kill Bill. Her well-chosen foil is Luke Wilson, one of the best straight men in cinema. His part is basically one long double take but it never gets stale.

There are some juicy supporting roles. The revelation of the movie is Rainn Wilson, who finds a completely new way of playing the horndog best friend: imagine Joey Tribiani played by Jarvis Cocker. Wilson runs away with every scene he's in. Wanda Sykes also gets some very big laughs as Matt's fanatically PC boss. She has a way of delivering lines which is all her own. Anna Faris, who's been in a lot of movies this year, is sweet as the girl Matt really loves. Faris seems to be the normal girl for once but be patient - her character pays off big time towards the end. That's also true of G-Girl's arch-enemy Professor Bedlam, played dryly by Eddie Izzard.

The real superhero is screenwriter Don Payne. This is his first film script but he's written for TV, including several episodes of The Simpsons. My Super Ex-Girlfriend has the snappy dialogue of a good sitcom (think Friends at its peak), combined with cheerfully subversive self-mocking and a refreshing willingness to go off in oddball directions. This one doesn't fall into the pot-holes that trip up most comedies. It never tries to get serious, like The Break-Up. It doesn't stick slavishly to formula. It doesn't go on autopilot in the last act - the last act is the best part! This movie's still taking the piss out of itself right up until the very end.

NB: Despite the 12A certificate and the superhero theme, My Super Ex-Girlfriend is quite raunchy and not suitable for taking younger kids.

Overall

8

out of 10

Last updated: 19/04/2018 04:45:34

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