Uma Thurman plays a borderline psychotic superhero in My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and it’s glorious. The fact that she is Hot is mentioned maybe two dozen times during the course of the movie, but Thurman rarely vamps: her crazy episodes are as wonderfully insecure and neurotic as Woody Allen’s most panicked conniptions. She’ll go off on feverish tangents before coming back to the subject at hand with an embarrassed glance, go from enranged to deliriously pleased in the blink of an eye, all the while maintaining the threatening aura of one who can send a nuclear missile flying off into space with nothing more than a swift kick.
I don’t know if Thurman could have carried the entire movie on her super-shoulders; she makes her schtick entertaining, but it’s still eminently schtick, and fairly one-note at that. Fortunately, I didn’t have to find out, as the star is backed by a quick-witted screenplay with a good feel for the absurd, lively performances by Luke Wilson and Anna Faris, and a killer high concept that, for a change, is something other than wasted. All in all, My Super Ex-Girlfriend is a surprisingly solid post-Independence Day effort.
But wait! What’s this? Misogynistic, you say? Because the film dares to joke about breasts and sexual harassment? Or have we returned to the notion that “objectifying women” is a cardinal sin? The statement that My Super Ex-Girlfriend “hates women” is silly to me because it’s so clearly false: leaving aside the notion of the nearly omnipotent female superhero at its center (who, I’d add, ends up a sympathetic character), the film works double-time to endear the audience to the Alternate Love Interest (Anna Faris), who is smart, funny, and genuinely kind. Consider, also, who is left literally holding the bag just before the credits roll.
The movie is supremely silly, anyway, though the silliest part — the shark — is regrettably given away in the trailers. I liked the blatant sexuality of what might be the centerpiece gag; it pushes the PG-13 envelope, but it’s the sort of very direct and very funny joke a lesser film would have dismissed as too obvious, or made crasser than it needed to be. Luke Wilson’s reaction shots are priceless.
My Super Ex-Girlfriend plays like it was written by smart people, for people who’ve seen their share of romantic comedies and superhero flicks. It’s amusing, quick, bright, and offensive only for people desperately searching for something to offend them. If the concept sounds amusing to you, I can comfortably recommend the film.