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My Super Ex-Girlfriend

It's not like My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006) is a comedy gem. It isn't. It's never quite laugh-out-loud funny. It doesn't wring enough out of its killer premise. It mildly squanders good actors. And given that director Ivan Reitman once delivered the perfect fantasy-comedy in Ghostbusters (1984), the whole thing feels like a bit of a coast. But as coasts go, Super Ex does have a certain low-key, adult-contemporary charm. And it's almost entirely because of Luke Wilson. Wilson plays Matt — a soft-bellied, white-collar Everyman who hits it off with sexy-librarian type Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman) after chasing the man who stole her purse. The sex is enthusiastic, bordering on painful, but Matt's in for a couple of far more painful surprises. For starters, Jenny is a wildly jealous, weapons-grade New York neurotic — the sort of woman who stops in the middle of a French-kissing session to critique Matt's tonguework. And, even worse, Jenny is also the indestructible superheroine "G-Girl," who flies around New York righting wrongs in a costume that makes her look like a comic-con Carrie Bradshaw. Meaning that when Matt decides to get off "the greatest rollercoaster of all time" and dumps her to pursue his much-saner co-worker (Anna Faris), Jenny's vengeful tantrums tend to incorporate flight, heat-vision, super-strength, and the occasional hurling of cars and sharks. Perhaps the premise is killer, but Reitman might have done more with it as well. Certainly, the movie's watchable — the characters are likable and the story has its moments, particularly when Thurman goes all bug-eyed or the film does sex-farce variations on scenes from Superman The Movie. (The Matt/Jenny relationship has quite a bit more erotic juice than the wax-museum angst of Superman Returns, for what little that's worth.) But this movie's not set in the Ivan Reitman New York of Ghostbusters — it's more like the Ivan Reitman New York of Legal Eagles. Scenes that could be hilarious have a Nerf-ball softness in the writing, editing, and pop-soundtrack departments — to the degree that usually funny supporting actors like Wanda Sykes, Eddie Izzard, and The Office's Rainn Wilson fail to bust a single gut between them. Only Luke Wilson seems tuned in to the vibe. Like his brother Owen, Luke's comic timing is rooted in the mellow, in making sure everyone's having a good time. And his odd-but-sincere little reactions to Jenny's increasing insanity — his little eye-flicks as she destroys a bed around him, say, or the way he says, "You did throw a shark at me " — go quite a ways toward keeping the movie on the decent side of "okay." Fox's DVD release of My Super Ex-Girlfriend offers a solid anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include five deleted scenes and a music video. Keep-case.
Mike Russell

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