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Avg. Rating: 2.5
changing the title hasn't helped
Writers David Guion and Michael Handelman and director Jesse Peretz must have called in a lot of favors when they made "The Ex," for how else to account for the presence of Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, Jason Bateman, Charles Grodin, Mia Farrow, Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, Paul Rudd and Amy Adams in as slight an indie comedy as the one they have manufactured here? And "manufactured" is definitely the operative term in this case, for "The Ex" feels contrived and phony from the get-go.
After he gets fired from his job as a chef in an upscale Manhattan restaurant, Tom Reilly (Braff) moves with his wife and infant son back to her hometown in Ohio where he gets a job at the same ad agency where his father-in-law (Grodin) works. One of the employees, Chip (Bateman), an old flame of Tom's wife, Sofia (Peet), tries to sabotage Tom at every turn, undercutting him at work and trying to rekindle the romance between Sofia and himself.
"The Ex" fails on a variety of levels, but the primary one is that, while it is supposed to be a satire of small town, middle American values, most of the characters - with their New-Age quirkiness and bohemian eccentricities - seem as if they'd be more at home living in some converted loft in Soho than on a tree-lined street in suburban Ohio. The setting of "The Ex" doesn't feel like Anyplace, USA; in fact, it doesn't feel like anyplace, period, except maybe the fantasy world of two overpaid Hollywood screenwriters. Add to this an assortment of unappealing and unappetizing characters, a tendency towards sitcom-level humor and plotting, and an over-reliance on heavy-handed slapstick and sight gags, and you have one of the major comedy disappointments of 2007. Braff is definitely a talented actor, but "The Ex" is a career path misfire that should be mercifully forgotten.
Director Jesse Peretz used to play bass in the 80s for the band the Lemonheads. He directed a music video "Big Me" for the Foo Fighters. His other features are "First Love, Last Rites" & "The Chateau." This has to be one of the least funny DVDs I've seen. Amanda Peet is apparently in love with her husband, although she sends out no emotional signals other than her dialogue. Zach Braff is famous for "Scrubs" TV series, "Garden State" & "The Last Kiss." As Tom in this movie, he's about the least intelligent person on the planet. When he tries to get Wesley's help and assaults him, no one but a child abuser could continue to root for his character. Jason Bateman who was in "The Break Up" and "Mr. Margorium's Wonder Emporium," is also one of the worst villains by trying to score points by faking paraplegia, apparently successfully according to the plot. Charles Grodin looks so much like Amanda Peet that she must have been adopted. Mia Farrow doesn't do much in this film, but is more interesting that most. Wesley, the neighborhood boy who can down a burger in a bite, is played by newcomer Lucien Maisel. Paul Rudd and Amy Adams have small parts that must have made them wonder why they agreed to appear in this film. The humor misses its mark, coming across as witless and frequently mean-spirited. "The Ex" is a disaster without a natural disaster. Taxi!
A Winning Dark Comedy About the Ad Game
If you're expecting a romantic comedy or another "Garden State," steer clear! "The Ex" is a dark comedy about an advertising agency. It's a biting satire that's bound to be at odds with the light comedy that Zach Braff is known for. I guess I'm in the minority when I say that I found "The Ex" amusing!
Ex This Out From Your To Watch List
The Ex, the latest Zach Braff romantic comedy, lacks the intelligence and the sincerity of his other projects (Garden State, The Last Kiss), but it's still an entertaining way to spend one and a half hours. Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, Smokin' Aces) is absolutely hilarious as the ex with a hidden dark side.
Lucian Maisel's trick alone is worth watching the movie for. Does anyone know if the kid is actually able to do that?
Wasn't That Bad
I don't know why there are so many negatives for this movie. Sure it wasn't the most original story idea and some gags do fall flat, it is populated by a ton of very funny people who really know how to make you laugh. I think Jason Bateman steals the movie as the wheelchair jerk. I never saw this in the movies, so I don't know the difference between the unrated and pg-13 versions of the movie. I know I had a good time, laughed out loud a couple of times and enjoyed the movie.
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