Hey folks, Harry here... The spy, I call Caractacus Potts sent in the following look at Fox's twist on the MR & MRS SMITH formula of adding spectacle to the genre of the Romantic Comedy... this time by making it a superhero tale... Sounds like a crazed LOIS LANE comic from the 60s. Could be fun, the following has spoilers of the primary gags - so you may want to give the review a skip, but if you're wanting to know more - by all means - dive in...
I caught a test screening in the OC last night for the new Fox film Super Ex-Girlfriend. This was a fairly early screening. The dude said that shooting only stopped seven weeks ago and it was obvious that this was a rough, rough cut. The effects were not even close to being done and the pacing was very relaxed for one of these big budget studio romantic comedies. While I was aware of the film before, I was by no means looking forward to it. But I checked it out for a two reasons. Though his last few films have been poop, Ivan Reitman?s name on a film still means something to me. Like many readers here, I would place films like Ghostbusters, Stripes and Twins on my all time favorite comedies list. Also, the cast of the movie was quite appealing. Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, Anna Farris, Rainn Wilson (from US The Office) and the great Eddie Izzard.
First of all, the crowd went absolutely apeshit over the film. Now I have been to few of these where the crowd seemed to really dig the show, only for the film to be released later to a resounding thud at the B.O. That could happen with Super Ex-Girlfriend, but this crowd was lovin? every minute. I generally don?t enjoy romantic comedies, not because I am a cynical dick, but because they are so poorly made and predictable. I didn?t really enjoy Super-Ex Girlfriend, but I will give it some credit for surprising me a few times.
Here?s the premise: The film opens with a jewelry heist, intercut with scenes of a figure flying amongst the skyscrapers of New York. The thieves attempt to escape but they are thwarted by Uma Thurman as G-Girl, a sexy superhero who protects the city. Of course, nobody knows her identity. Enter Luke Wilson as an architect (or something in that area) who has no luck with women and is waiting for the right one. He has a really nice apartment in New York and an eccentric best friend (Rainn Wilson) whom he can confide in. One day on the subway, he meets Thurman?s character in her Clark Kent mode. As G-Girl, Thurman looks amazing with flowing blonde hair and a form fitting outfit labeled with a giant ?G.? When she is just normal Uma, she wears a brown wig and nerdy glasses. But Luke is smart to know that there?s a hottie under there, so he tries to flirt with her. Right then, Uma?s purse is stolen, and Luke gives chase to the thug. He manages to get the purse back through dumb luck and Uma is impressed.
They start dating. Eventually, she trusts him enough to reveal that she is really G-Girl. At first, Luke thinks its awesome dating a superhero. After a while, he discovers its not all that when he starts to see how needy, jealous and high maintenance she is. He breaks up with her. And here?s where the actual movie starts. This is how the movie was sold. You know how sometimes when you break up with a girl, she starts getting all crazy and wanting revenge for a broken heart. Well, picture if she had super powers. Then she could really fuck with him. Right?
The first thing that I found odd is this: It?s a chick flick. Just look at the story. What girl couldn?t get behind the idea of being able to use superpowers against that nasty ex-boyfriend? But even though Uma is the character this picture?s main demo will get behind, Luke Wilson is the main character. It?s his story and we know he?s not a bad guy. This decision makes it difficult to see Uma?s character as anything but a crazy, out of control bitch. It?s like we?re supposed to sympathize with the guy who does the dumping and leaves the needy superhero for his hot office co-worker, played by the hot Anna Faris. While I had no trouble relating to his need to get out of a bad relationship, I feel most women will side with Uma just because of the fantasy revenge angle. But Uma?s character is almost a supporting role. It turns out that the real love story here is between Wilson and Faris.
What kind of wacky shit does she do to Luke with her powers? Well, since this rough, almost none of the effects shots were even close to done. Since there are a lot of effects shots in this movie, its hard for me to say how these scenes will turn out. But just based on Reitman?s experience with SFX in the past, I can only assume the work will be top-notch. The same can?t be said for the comedy here. Uma steals Luke?s car and throws it into outer space, where it proceeds to orbit around the earth. Okay. Uma grabs a great white shark from the ocean and throws it into Luke?s apartment. This is as ridiculous as it sounds. Somehow, the shark is able to flap around from room to room, following Luke without the ability to walk. Uma also uses her superhuman powers to write the word ?DICK? on Luke?s forehead right before his big presentation at work.
There are some laughs in the movie though. There is a nice and raunchy sex scene between Wilson and Thurman where she gets orgasmic as only a female superhero can. Wilson?s reactions are priceless. I couldn?t hear the dialogue for the entire next scene after the uproarious response this got. There is some funny banter between Wilson (Luke) and Wilson (Rainn) although some of it is groan worthy. Example: Luke asks Rainn, ?What kind of super power would you want?? He answers, ?The power to blow myself.? The script is credited on IMDB to Don Payne, who has written some damn funny Simpsons episodes. This explains why most of the good laughs for me were the dialogue driven ones rather than the broad special effects gags.
Luke Wilson occasionally delivers a line where he sounds so much like Owen I forget which one I am watching. But he certainly has the charisma to coast by in a movie like this and his comedic instincts are usually spot on, probably thanks to Reitman?s tutelage. Uma looks great and tries hard but she just seems uncomfortable with this kind of material. Comedy is just not her strong suit. For Anna Faris, this is just another necessary role on her path to better parts. Rainn Wilson plays his part like Dwight and it was obvious they knew he would slay em because they find a ludicrous way to work his character into the finale of the film. I can?t forget to mention Mr. Izzard, who steals every scene he is in as Uma?s arch nemesis. His character is really stupid but Izzard?s delivery is impeccable and he works wonders with what he has. In fact, the biggest laugh I had the whole film was from a mug shot of Izzard. Brilliant. Technically, he is the villain. He hates Uma for dumping him so he wants to steal her powers using Luke?s help.
I suspect that Fox will capitalize on S-man fever and release this in mid/late summer. I think the marketing hook will be strong enough to overcome the lackluster leads and this could be successful. But I doubt they will be able to draw in many males without their girlfriends based just on the superhero angle. Then again, some of you geeks liked Sky High so you might eat this up.