Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) nice guy, good job, owns a goldfish finds his life turned upside down when he starts a relationship with a girl he met on the train only to find out that shes the super-powered hero G-Girl (Thurman), and more than a littl
God knows we love it, but the worst thing that could have happened to Ivan Reitman’s career was making Ghostbusters. For he’s been fruitlessly trying to recreate it ever since, be it with CGI (Evolution), a walking special effect (his run of movies with Big Arnie), or high concepts (even Dave, arguably his best movie, was fuelled by a big ‘What If?’).
And now along comes My Super Ex-Girlfriend, his latest attempt to fuse gags of both the laugh-making and eye-candy variety — and sadly, it’s his latest strike.
There’s nothing wrong with the concept — a superhero stalker played for laughs might have been a nice poke in the eye for the X-Men and Kal-Els of this world — but it’s the underbaked screenplay (and, it must be said, Reitman’s dreary direction) that proves to be this movie’s kryptonite.
Don Payne’s script feels like it needed a couple more passes to remove extraneous characters (Wanda Sykes’ annoying boss, for one) and further flesh out motivation for its principals. Luke Wilson’s Matt is such a likeable, dorkish Everyman that, when G-Girl starts turning the screw and destroys his car, job and apartment in sequences clearly meant to be hilarious, the only response we can muster is sympathy for the poor fella.
That’s a commodity that’s also hard to come by for G-Girl — Thurman does a nice line in psychosis, but Jenny is given no real grounding for her lunacy. And, with Reitman unwilling to tip her over the edge into full-blown villainy, the character quickly becomes very one-dimensional.
It’s a pity, because the potential for a superspoof does exist in a couple of nice scenes — when a rogue missile threatens, a pissed-off G-Girl has to be talked into saving the day; while the HQ of arch-nemesis Professor Bedlam (a miscast Eddie Izzard) turns out to be a terraced house with his nefarious weapons stored on shelves. Otherwise, though, this is pedestrian and unsure of its tone.
The cast try hard, though, with the two unrelated Wilsons (Luke and Rainn, so great in the American Office) in particular hugely enjoyable as a pair of odd-couple best friends. When they’re swapping their sparky banter — Wilson, R. caustic and dry; Wilson, L. naive and ever-so-slightly appalled — it’s hard not to mutter discontentedly when an expensive ineffect shows up and we’re back to the “so what?” superhero shenanigans again.
For Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters continues to cast one hell of a shadow. Shame if hed managed to resist the lure of big, shiny FX, this could have worked as a very black comedy...