Canister X Movie Review #60: My Super Ex-girlfriend (2006)
Written by Don Payne
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Runtime 95 min.
4 out of 5
What would you do if you found out the woman you were seeing was actually a superhero? It’s exactly what happens to Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) when he discovers his shy but very controlling girlfriend, Jenny Johnson (Uma Thurman), is really G-Girl. Aside from being able to fly, bend steel bars with her bare hands, shoot lasers from her eyes and a host of other classic powers, she’s also every guy’s nightmare girlfriend and soon Matt can’t take it anymore and breaks up with her. While he tries to get on with his life—which is way easier thanks to Hannah (Anna Farris), a pretty blonde in his office with whom he’s got good chemistry—Jenny’s not having so easy a time and makes his life a living hell, barraging him with super trouble and threats that only a super ex-girlfriend can bring. Meanwhile, G-Girl’s arch nemesis, Professor Bedlam (Eddie Izzard), has his own plans for G-Girl and seeks to strip her of her powers once and for all.
It’s good times, lots of laughs and loads of nods to the metahuman genre in this superhero romance comedy that you’re sure to love.
I’m not big on romantic comedies. You’ve seen one, you’ve pretty much seen them all. However, there are exceptions and, for me, putting a new twist on them is the way to get this viewer’s attention. If you make that twist superheroes, you’ve definitely caught my eye and My Super Ex-girlfriend does just that. While superhero romance is explored in the comics, it’s never intentionally explored on the big screen. While modern day superhero movies do have romantic elements or a romantic subplot, it’s never in the foreground—until now. By adding a comedic element, you take the risk of ruining the genre by making it too tongue-in-cheek or campy. Not so in this flick. Sure, there are a few silly moments, but on the whole, the genre is still treated with respect and taken seriously in the context of the film.
Uma Thurman is one of my favorite actresses. She’s extremely versatile and is quite the chameleon. Seeing her both as the sleek and strong G-Girl and then as her Clark Kent-ish opposite Jenny Johnson shows she can play both sides of the same coin. More so, she also—whether intentionally or not, I don’t know—knows how to stand the coin on edge, and that is portray that hero while not in their public civilian identity but also not in their super one as well. It’s the side of a superhero character you don’t often see and, interestingly, it’s this side of the Jenny/G-Girl character that makes up most of the screen time in this flick. As a writer of superheroes myself (see The Axiom-man Saga), it’s this side of the hero that most intrigues me because it’s the side where they’re just being themselves without having to put on a show for the public heroically or in disguise.
Luke Wilson—he’s Luke Wilson. At least out of all the movies I’ve seen him in, he’s, well, Luke Wilson, the soft-spoken awkward nice guy with a bit of wit. Such a character worked well to play opposite Jenny Johnson’s crazed tendencies. Sort of the whole straight-man side of the comedy duo equation.
This movie is special in that it stands out amongst superhero comedies because it takes itself seriously while still being funny, and is able to make you suspend all disbelief for its hour-and-a-half runtime.
If you’re looking for something lighthearted, but something super, My Super Ex-girlfriend should be at the top of your list.