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Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Last week Owen Wilson went for laughs when his You, Me and Dupree opened at the Essex Cinemas. This week, younger brother Luke Wilson (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) gets his turn when the Essex Cinemas plays host to My Super Ex-Girlfriend, an adult comedy despite the deceiving title.

Luke plays an architectural designer named Matt Saunders who is plagued by a lack of female companionship and an overabundance of male bonding in the form of his co-worker and friend Vaughn Haige (played by The Office’s Rainn Wilson). Vaughn hangs on Matt like a barnacle, always present with his downright jaw-dropping chauvinistic rhetoric and womanizing ways. He is like a 13 year old boy who has just discovered a reason to spend time in the bathroom without the need to pee, if you know what I mean. For him, sex isn’t just on his brain. His gonads ARE his brain. He follows Matt everywhere and can sexualize any interaction no matter how seemingly mundane. Thanks to his urging, Matt approaches the mild-mannered, if somewhat mousy, gallery curator Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman; Kill Bill) on the subway. At first she resists, but thanks to fate and an attempted purse snatching, she finally agrees to dinner.

Fast forward a few weeks and poor Matt has come to regret ever connecting with Jenny. She's neurotic, jealous, and controlling, traits Thurman captures both effectively and very humorously. It’s almost enough to make a person wonder if this couldn’t explain a bit about her failed marriage to actor Ethan Hawke, but I’m just speculating here and I’d like to think Uma is acting and not venting in this case. Anyway, Jenny’s clinginess is smothering Matt and whenever she sees him anywhere around his work partner, Hannah Lewis (Anna Faris of the Scary Movie franchise), she practically flies off the handle.

And speaking of flying, that is one little secret Jenny had been keeping from Matt, but once their lovemaking started sending the bed slamming so hard into the wall that it began breaking up the plaster she knew it was time to reveal her darkest secret, especially since she seemed to think their relationship was headed gracefully towards the altar and not sliding rapidly towards the skids. Yes, it seems that Jenny is also the city’s resident super-heroine, G Girl, a blonde bombshell with all the powers of a Superman but without that pesky kryptonite problem to slow her down.

At first Matt responds with enthusiasm at learning the truth. After all, even Vaughn has made pronouncements about how “hot” it would be to spend the night with G Girl, and now Matt can say that he has (even though she has pledged him to secrecy, of course). So Matt gives the relationship another crack, but when he finally realizes that Jenny really was right about his supposed feelings for Hannah he decides to call it off. No problem? Not quite.

You try breaking up with an emotionally unstable super-heroine. That heat vision and super-strength can really cause damage to your apartment, not to mention the flying through walls and potential for being thrown into orbit when you least expect it. Matt has a hatful of woes and nowhere to turn if it were not for the appearance of Professor Bedlam, G Girl’s self-proclaimed arch-nemesis. Don’t you sometimes regret that we don’t all go through life with an arch-nemesis of our own? I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone in the real world having one, but super folks always do, and I think it would add a lot of spice to our everyday lives, sort of like having your own personal terrorist to deal with every day. I think we sell ourselves short by giving them all the fun and we’d all be on our toes a lot more if we had a Boris Badenov sneaking around behind our backs, but I digress as usual.

Anyway, Professor Bedlam (British comedian Eddie Izzard), actually Jenny’s
longtime school chum Barry, is a man who has pined unsuccessfully for her love since their teenage years, and he is the only one who knows the source of her powers and a way to strip her of them. Now after feeling jilted for years, he naturally feels compelled to do as any would-be boyfriend would do: he wants to destroy her, or at least take away these powers that make her so damned super. Perhaps, he reasons, if she was a “normal” woman again, she would see him for the devoted lover he has always wanted to be to her.

From here alliances are formed and lines are blurred
as powers come and go, love blossoms, and one great catfight rocks the street before it all comes to a super-ending (like there would be any other kind in this type of story).

Besides the string of hilarious sight gags that pepper the action throughout the story, credit should be given to Laura Jean Shannon for designing a series of G Girl costumes that allow our super-heroine to make each world-saving or boyfriend torturing entrance a glamorous moment with a different take on her logo and trademark red and black colors.

Kudos too, to the Art and Special Effects people who make G Girl’s many
super-heroics take on a look of their own rather than appear to simply copy the usual flying antics as seen in the X-Men and Superman films. G Girl has a style all her own, which adds enormously to the “reality” of her superpowers as they do indeed appear different than what we’ve seen before, even if they are basically the same in nature.

I doubt My Super Ex-Girlfriend is going to create a cult of G Girl fans like those who exist for the batty guy and the fellow in the blue tights, but it’s not a bad distraction for adults looking for a little sex in the city now that Sex And The City is no more.

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