The Ex (2007)
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Review Date: September 27, 2007
Director: Jesse Peretz
Writer: David Guion, Michael Handelman
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Anne Carey, Ted Hope
Zach Braff as Tom
Amanda Peet as Sofia
Jason Bateman as Chip
Tom, a husband with a newborn child is forced to work alongside his father-in-law, when he realizes that he can’t just keep quitting jobs, when money is required to bring up the baby. At the new company, Tom begins to work under a guy named Chip, who is constricted to a wheelchair. It turns out that Chip once nailed Tom’s wife while in high school. He also had a massive crush on her at the time, and secretly starts making Tom’s life a living hell. Tom can’t diss him because he’s in a wheelchair and the rest, as they say…is supposed to be “comedy”, but only some of it is funny.
This movie ain’t all that funny. You’d think that with all of its stars, many of whom are well-known for their comedic chops, including Zach Braff, Jason Bateman, Amy Poehler, Charles Grodin and others, you’d get a mile-a-minute of jokes, but all we get here is a sitcom feel, a cool premise that isn’t truly milked to its potential and lots of very lame and clichéd moments that ultimately drown the film out. In fact, whose idea was it to try and actually build a story around this movie? Pretty much all of the scenes between Braff and his hottie wife Amanda Peet felt entirely false, as the two had about as much chemistry as me and a piece of toast, and Braff’s annoying voice didn’t help matters at all (Was that his real voice or did he choose it to represent his character? Either way, it didn’t work). And talk about a waste of talent across the rest of the cast. What the fuck was Mia Farrow doing in this movie, other than cashing a check? How embarrassing. At least Grodin delivered one of the funniest lines in the whole film, when he accidentally touched a very hot lamp on his desk. Classic stuff. Bateman also managed to crack off a few very funny lines, and his ability to be a total asshole was great too, but the film just took it all too seriously in the end, and mucked it all up. If the “twist” in the end was supposed to be believable on any level (or his job offer), I guess I must have missed the memo, because for me, the whole thing just fall apart in act three.

That’s not to say that the film was delivering much before then anyway, as it wasn’t, with only a few of the Braff/Bateman back-and-forths delivering in laughs, while the rest of the time, you’re just sitting there wondering who edited the movie so badly and why its pace felt off across the board. I was hoping for a TIN MEN type of movie, or even PUSHING TIN (basically any movie with the word “tin” in the title apparently), in which the two lead characters just keep pushing each others’ buttons till the cows come home to moo, but that wasn’t the case here. I think I had seen the film’s 2-3 “big laughs” in previews and the rest of the stuff just sucked, while people like Peet, Farrow and Poehler were completely wasted in the film (and I’m not even gonna mention Amy Adams because all she had was pretty sad…well, okay, I’m mentioning it!). And since when does someone become a top-notch “ad man” after coming up with 1 basic idea? I mean, I don’t want to dissect this film’s plotline too much, but for the love of Zeus…are we supposed to be complete morons in the audience? The man saw a kid shove a burger down his throat and poof…he’s an ad-man!! (Who can open his own company because of it??) Gimme a break. I’m not sure of this film’s journey to get into theaters, but it felt as thought it wasn’t a smooth one. The whole thing felt edited down, not well paced and certainly, packed with more slapstick crap, rather than real humor, and will likely be appreciated by only those who don’t require much from their comedies. Rent on video, but even then, don’t expect much. PS: No nudity from Peet either. Sigh.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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