- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 20, 2006

“My Super Ex-Girlfriend” starts with a dirty joke.

“If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” Matt Saunders (Luke Wilson) asks his friend Vaughn Haige (Rainn Wilson). Vaughn responds that he would like to have a somewhat special ability that would require a great deal of flexibility.

The film goes downhill from there.

The problem isn’t the premise, which is a somewhat creative twist on the typical psycho-ex plot. (The steady supply of these creatures in real life seems to keep the genre from becoming stale.)

Uma Thurman, who has little to do here beside look good, is Jenny Johnson by day and G-Girl by night. Jenny is an attractive if standoffish redheaded art curator; G-Girl is the Big Apple’s latest superhero, a sexy blonde.

Matt Saunders asks the redhead out. At first, he can’t believe his luck when he gets the blonde, too. But he soon changes his tune when it becomes clear that Jenny is a jealous and controlling girlfriend — as if a little clinginess would be enough to turn a middling architect off Miss Thurman. As Vaughn would say if he knew Jenny’s secret: She’s a superhero, dude.

The insecure superhero doesn’t take the breakup very well. Especially when it becomes clear Matt dumped her so he could take up with co-worker Hannah (Anna Faris). (Miss Faris of the “Scary Movie” franchise is also an attractive blonde; but Matt choosing her over supergirl Miss Thurman is yet another plot hole.)

Jenny has more resources at her disposal for revenge than Glenn Close’s character in “Fatal Attraction.” At one point, she throws a live shark into the bedroom of Matt and Hannah. These special effects are pretty good; a look at the wreckage, with a shark-bitten pillow, is even a little clever.

The dialogue is not.

“It’s G-Girl. Doin’ her thing,” Vaughn reports by phone when witnessing the superhero save the tenants of a burning building. The unfortunate Rainn Wilson, who is wildly funny as the unpopular Dwight in NBC’s “The Office,” gets most of the terrible lines. He plays the stereotypical sex-starved, misogynistic best friend.

This first screenplay from “Simpsons” writer Don Payne is filled with the worst kind of juvenile humor. Those looking for laugh-out-loud dirty comedy in the vein of “American Pie” will only roll their eyes here. The movie is campy without meaning to be. A sex scene between Jenny and Matt is not at all explicit but so over-the-top that it’s painful to watch.

What talented comedians like Wanda Sykes and Eddie Izzard are doing in this mess is anyone’s guess. Miss Sykes’ role as a sexual harassment grievance-happy supervisor merits just a few laughs. The British Mr. Izzard looks the part of villain Professor Bedlam. But it’s not clear whether his American accent is supposed to make him sound as if he has a lisp.

Director Ivan Reitman gave us such comedy classics as “Ghostbusters” and “Stripes,” but perhaps now is the time to pass the torch to son Jason, who scored a critical triumph with the satirical “Thank You for Smoking,” released earlier this year. “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” is anything but.

*1/2

TITLE: “My Super Ex-Girlfriend”

RATING: PG-13 (sexual content, crude humor, language and brief nudity)

CREDITS: Directed by Ivan Reitman. Written by Don Payne.

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

WEB SITE: www.mysuperex.com

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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