Starring: Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, Jason Bateman,Charles Grodin, Mia Farrow
Movie Mind Says: Go To Movie Theater
Since Hollywood is incapable of having an original thought, it must have had a recent influx of stalker-psychos; how else can you explain their regular recurrence on the big screen? The Ex sticks with a theme we’ve been seeing a lot lately: making lighthearted comedy out of a world teeming with sociopaths. While the plotline is pretty ordinary, Zach Braff’s ability to give a “real-life” feel to it pushes this film past being ordinary by any fashion.
If movies were cocktails, this one would be would be one part Meet the Parents, one part Just Friends, two parts Cable Guy, and a floater of originality (SPARKY’S NOTE: mmmmm, movie cocktails). Jason Bateman (as Chip Sanders … very close to Chip Douglas in Cable Guy) plays the pain-in-the-ass boss who had the pleasure of knowing Amanda Peet (Sofia) in a very intimate way in high school. And, as I’m sure she has done to many a man, he can’t seem to get over her. So when she moves back to her hometown so her current squeeze Braff (Tom Reilly) can get a job with her father, Bateman sees it as an opportunity to split them up and ride off into the sunset with Peet.
The most original part of the film is that Bateman, whose dry humor mimics his style in The Break Up, happens to be in a wheelchair. This allows us to empathize with the bad guy, unlike other films where you know they are scumbags off the bat. Like those others, however, Bateman is able to convince the whole world he is the greatest thing since sliced bread, except of course for Braff. He knows something is up from the beginning.
The comedy is pretty steady throughout the movie and will keep you laughing. Braff’s classic slacker-style is reminiscent of Dr. Dorian in Scrubs. He and Bateman are a fairly decent comedic pair. Throw in a rare appearance by a clearly aging Charles Grodin and Mia Farrow, and you have a recipe for success.
As long as we aren’t counting originality, The Ex is a big hit. Even if we dock it some points, the writing and acting easily make it worthwhile.
If You Like This You Should Watch: Just Friends, Cable Guy
Better Than: Just Married
Worse Than: Meet the Parents