Thursday, February 01, 2007

A B-Chick Flick. Or Not.

Making a comedy, especially for women, is tough. Just ask Ivan Reitman who has had a prolific and chequered career delivering an impressive variety of comedies. My Super Ex-Girlfriend, while outwardly marketed as a chick flick, is hardly a chick flick at all.

Ignore that title and consider the evidence: the main protagonist is a male character played by Luke Wilson. The movie revolves around him.
His sidekick, played with amusing facility by Rainn Wilson spends most of his time giving his friend relationship advice that is centered around how to treat women like props. There is a forgettable supervisor played by Wanda Sykes who indulges in much loud arm waving about sexual harassment at every opportunity she gets. In other words, she plays a black female caricature.

Uma Thurman plays the titular girlfriend with super-powers. Her character is neurotic, vindictive and destructive. There is hardly anything to like about her. When making a formulaic chick flick, it helps to have likable women playing the lead.

It's not like I wasn't warned. The movie flopped its way to $22 million in the US. But such is the loyalty of comic fan boys who will watch anything with the word "Super" in it. Luke Wilson, fine actor that he is, confuses - not the first time - genial, laid-back, guy-next-door with milquetoast foppishness. Thurman strives bravely but she doesn't have great comic timing nor does she have Meryl Streep to help her out as in Prime.

But even pools of mud can allow a Lotus to bloom. As Professor Bedlam, Eddie Izzard is given the kind of lines that would make an actor want to strangle his writer. Somehow he makes all of them sound funny, floating through scenes with a withering disbelief with what he has to put up with.
And Anna Fariss, who made a name for herself in the Scary Movie franchise and who I've never watched before, plays Luke Wilson's coworker. She affects her role with lightness and general adorability. Ah then, the trick to being cute is not trying too hard in the first place (Zooey Deschanel, are you reading this blog? Probably not).

1 comment:

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

Luke is my original FPMBF - I believe the term "movie boyfriend" was coined for him by one of my friends (but don't ask me why Akshaye and friends have the additional "fake pretend" on their titles). I haven't seen this, but I'd rent it. Maybe. Um....