Friday, May 11, 2007

The Ex

The Ex? Well, at least we know the same amount of time and energy that went in to making this turkey was also used to come up with the title. “The Waste” or “The Crap” or “The Disappointment” would all have been (slightly more) appropriate titles as well.

Tom Reilly (Zach Braff) is a nice guy who’s just never been able to hold down a stable job. Now that his wife Sofia (Amanda Peet) has just delivered their first child Tom decides to leave New York and take Sofia’s father (Charles Grodin) up on his offer to work at his ad agency in Ohio.

Once there Tom is put under the supervision of the firm’s best, the wheelchair bound Chip Sanders (Jason Bateman), your classic charming movie bad guy who nobody but our protagonist can see through. Chip once dated Sofia and wants her back and has a mutual dislike for Tom.

That’s the basic set-up, after the baby birthing scene (which seems straight of of an episode of Scrubs), and so twenty-minutes in you know the characters and the basic plot. You also know everything which will happen for the next 80-plus minutes. There are no surprises here. We get the obligatory jokes of Chip setting Tom up for all types of punishment and Tom’s overreactions leading to scenes making him come off as the bad guy.

If the film had been a little funnier it might have skated by with bare-minimum cookie-cutter effort, but there’s nothing here other than a waste of some good comedic actors, millions of dollars of the studio’s money, and a couple hours of my life. There are a few laughs, but nothing memorable and nothing more than you’d give a slight chuckle to on your average episode of According to Jim. The oddball office environment has been done better on most sitcoms, and the supporting characters like Amy Poehler are completely wasted as nothing more than background dressing.

And I just feel incredibly sad for Jason Bateman. With the cancellation of Arrested Development he’s taken one wrong turn after another (see Smokin’ Aces). His career is going right back in the toilet; he’s turning into nothing more than an older version of Jerry O’Connell.

The Ex, just like Braff’s last project The Last Kiss is a real disappointment. I hope someday he’ll get back to making his own movies like Garden State or at the very least use better taste than the proects he’s been making lately. The Ex is a lowgrade television movie that telegraphs all the plot and jokes well before the first commercial break.

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