Director: Jesse Peretz
Cast: Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, Jason Bateman,
Charles Grodin, Mia Farrow, Donal Logue, Amy Poehler, Amy
RunTime: 1 hr 32 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: M18 (Sexual References)
Official Website: www.theexmovie.com
Day: 5 July 2007
Tom Reilly (Zach Braff) is a bit of an underachiever
when it comes to his career (or lack thereof), but his adoring
wife Sofia (Amanda Peet), a formidable lawyer, has always
been happy to act as the breadwinner. With the birth of their
first child, however, the couple feels obligated to take on
more traditional roles and leave their life in New York City
for Sofia's hometown in Ohio.
hideous living room set gifted by Sofia's parents Bob (Charles
Grodin) and Amelia (Mia Farrow) upon their arrival is the
first troublesome sign that Tom and Sofia may not fit into
their new lifestyle. Tom takes a job working for Bob at Sunburst
Communications, an advertising agency recently revamped by
a pretentious, snowboarding creative guru, Don Wollebin (Donal
Logue). Tom's struggle to perform in his new position is compounded
by the sly sabotage of the agency's star executive Chip Sanders
(Jason Bateman). Chip, a paraplegic womanizer who still carries
a torch for Sofia from their high school days, is Bob's office
pet, and can do no wrong in his eyes.
every move seems to backfire, embarrassing his father-in-law
at the office and alienating him from Sofia, who is vents
her frustration at being a stay-at-home-mom by shouting "Hearsay,
your honor!" at Court TV and watching wrestling with
her 13 year-old neighbor. As Chip continues to make his moves
on Sofia and ingratiate himself to her parents, Tom is determined
to fight his way out of what has become suburban hell and
win back the affection of his wife.
The title of the movie is a misnomer – ‘The
Ex’ in question is more of a good friend of which a
one-night stand was involved. You know a movie is doomed when
creative entities involved cannot come up with a better title.
Worse, this movie was first known as ‘Fast track’,
but that was dropped when the movie failed in Los Angeles
in December last year. This film should have been released
straight to video.
The basic premise is simple. Loser Tom Riley (Zach Braff)
has lost another job, this time instead of getting promoted
and coinciding with the birth of his newborn. The couple decide
to go back to wife Sophia’s (Amanda Peet) hometown in
Ohio, where promise of a job by her father beckons. Enter
Tom’s new job and mentor Chip (Jason Bateman) whom we
later find out is best friends with Sophia and they had a
one-night tryst between them. The central plot then revolves
around Chip’s pining for Sophia and his getting the
better of Tom.
The Ex is really a Zach Braff movie. And boy, have I had enough
of him. And his total lack of talent. Looking back at his
recent spate of poor box office ‘hits’, I am sure
his fans feel the same way. Here, Zach as Tom Riley spends
90% of the film as a bumbling and whiny loser/idiot. He remains
uninteresting and flies under the radar throughout the comedy.
Sounds familiar? We are never truly engaged in him, nor do
we sympathise his plight and situation. And he is supposed
to be the hero of the film?
Yet the cast for The Ex seems somewhat spectacular, which
points to markedly poor script writing. The plot is terribly
predictable – save the villainous Chip (played by Jason
Bateman) who is too successful in his antics. Worse, not once
did Tom ever fight back and win. A horrendous attempt at ‘dark
comedy’ if there ever was one. Amanda Peet’s role
as Zach’s wife Sophia who should be most central to
the plot, has little to do or say. Her resulting scenes (as
well as the other supporting actors) end up more as filler,
and unfortunately fodder, to an excessive 92-minute film.
Admittedly, there were a few true comedic moments, which made
me laugh, but these are too few and far between to save this
movie from complete disaster.
(A perfect comedy for couples who are too interested in each
other to pay any attention on the screen)
by Darren Sim