24 February 2009

DVD: "My Super Ex-Girlfriend"

My Super Ex-Girlfriend
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Written by Don Payne
Starring: Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, Anna Faris, Eddie Izzard, Rainn Wilson and Wanda Sykes
DVD Release Date: 19 December 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Sexual Content, Crude Humor, Language and Brief Nudity)
List Price: $14.98
Cinescopes Personality Type: Chosen Adventurer, Respected Champion, Rebellious Lover

The Film
Two of the most popular genres of late have been romantic comedies and superhero flicks.  My Super Ex-Girlfriend is the inevitable amalgamation of the two.  Matt (Wilson) feels pretty good about having met Jenny (Thurman) and started a relationship, entirely oblivious to the fact that she is, in truth, super-heroine G-Girl.  Jenny doesn't have a particularly strong grasp of her own identity and the strength she has in costume is entirely absent as a civilian.  When Matt reaches a breaking point in the relationship, Jenny reaches one emotionally.  All the while, her former partner cum arch-nemesis Professor Bedlam (Izzard) is plotting her demise.

20th Century Fox really botched the DVD release.  I understand the marketing value of double-sided discs, featuring the original, widescreen aspect ratio on one side and the pan and scan, 4:3 version on the other; still, I'm firmly entrenched in the anti-flipper camp.  ("Flipper" is the colloquial term amongst DVD collectors for discs that must be flipped over for all content.)  What makes this release particularly bothersome is that the bonus features are split up across both sides.  Deleted scenes, and extended Shark Sequence and a music video for Molly McQueen's "No Sleep 2 Nite" are all that's included, so there really is no reason they would not have all fit along with a 90 minute long feature on each side of the disc.  The deleted scenes get an optional commentary track by director Reitman; unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the feature itself.

The Recommendation
With so much talent working off a genuinely interesting premise, My Super Ex-Girlfriend is unfortunately disappointing.  Jenny/G-Girl, as a superheroine, ought to be virtuous; instead, though she worried about revealing her identity to Matt, she does not hesitate to seek revenge on him--in costume--after the break-up, including throwing a shark into his apartment.  When the superheroine is petty and neurotic, it devalues her as a protagonist unless it's played just right, and neither Thurman's performance nor Reitman's direction found that balance.  Without sympathy for her, the whole thing collapses.  We dug this out of the $5 section at Walmart last year, and at that price it wasn't entirely disappointing.  Still, I would suggest renting this on the cheap before committing to a purchase.

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