Tuesday, 17 August 2010

No.53 : The Ex



Our shortest title to date - Hurrah! And the title foxed me too! I thought the happy new parents we saw at the start were going to fall out when he loses his job, but no! ‘The Ex’ in question is a high school sweet heart of the wife who tries to come between the happy couple.

The film opens with the couple, Zach Braff and Amanda Peet choosing baby names. I was a bit worried that it was going to be a bit cutesy pie but it quickly got on track when our hero meets a couple of ass holes in the shape of a braggart school chum played by Josh off ‘Sports Night’ and a horrible boss played by Brian Fantana off ‘Anchorman. The kitchen scene was a cracker and a must see for anyone planning on losing their jobs.

With Zach sacked he heads off with wife and baby to take up an advertising job with her father in Ohio. The office is populated by various people you’ve seen in other films including an underused Amy Poehler as an off kilter employee. The main action takes place in the trendy advertising loft as Zach meets ‘The Ex’ in the shape of Jason Bateman’s wheelchair bound manipulator.

What follows is a familiar tale of mind games as Bateman humiliates Zach and starts to turn everyone against him. Some of his schemes are pretty funny and it kept the offbeat nature of the film on track. Soon Zach has a chance to shine when he discovers a child star who can do a trick that’d never get on TV - mass chokings anyone?

With Zach alienated Bateman starts to make a play for his wife and we have to wonder if the most obvious of the two obvious twists will be used - wrong! - they use both the obvious twists!

I didn’t expect to like this film seeing as Braff is usually as funny as cold sick but he made the wise move of surrounding himself with some great talents to largely favourable results. Bateman is great playing his usual smarmy bastard and does his familiar over friendly, but not really routine. He came across as genuinely mental and his manipulative schemes were all good manic fun.

I suppose we were meant to side with Zach but he’s such a douche that you wonder how he got a knock out wife and hope that his slacking will see him undone. The last act let the film down by being too predictable and by having the wife shift her character 180 degrees in 30 seconds.

It’s a shame that guys like Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler only got cameos but their scenes gave us the biggest laughs and there were plenty of other familiar faces to keep us interested, such as Mia Farrow as the under written mum.

Given some of the tat that qualifies as entertainment I thought this funny and well made film would have enjoyed a higher profile. Yeah, there is a bit of baby and relationship stuff but you also get a sauce fight and plenty of cock gags so it’s well worth a look as a ‘date night’ movie.

THE Tag Line : Ex-cellent - Well Quite Good At Any Rate 69%

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