There are so many things wrong about My Super Ex-Girlfriend that it is a pity that most of the reviews have played it safe by just pointing out that its a pretty rubbish film. Yes, it is a pretty rubbish film, albeit one which has a plot which makes basic sense and characters with relatively explicable motivations (both of which are still rarities in current cinema). So the banality of the superheroine, Thurman’s complete inability to play the material*, no-one noticing they had hired Luke not Owen Wilson** all add up to a dullish experience.
So instead let me be critical of its place within its own genre. What My Super Ex-Girlfriend promises is actually quite interesting. The reaction of the uber-powerful to day-to-day problems, like being dumped. The fact that it resorts to a very one dimensional revenge fantasy is disappointing, and interestingly compares unfavourably to Superman Returns. In that Superman is effectively dumped and spends much of his time in an emo fashion eavesdropping on Lois and her new beau (it is in this relationship that Superman Returns works best as a film, possibly because it is the source of originality in the film). And so Thurman’s G-Girl throwing a shark at Wilson, and destroying his car is par for the course for a film with a very one-dimensional view of female psychology. Never does the film consider why she is so insecure, the potential strains of a secret identity***, the difficulty of always being on call. And the film shows zero interest in her cookie-cutter powers and how she helps people. All it adds to the genre is another failed superheroine picture and the vaguely novel idea that a superhero may not wear the same clothes ALL THE TIME!
With superhero films become more common, and thus more complex, the effect of living in a super-powered world is slowly factoring in to the world of these films. X-Men plays up the fear, Superman the wonder. G-Girl is just seen as remotely hot, and yet again is the only hero or superpowered character in the film. Until the end. Suddenly we see the first appearance of one of comics most treasured, and most stupid, conventions. Two heroes meet. They fight. And then they team up. One has to assume use of the convention is accidental here, but it is a highpoint in an otherwise dull and stupid film.
*Surely Thurman’s inability to play fantasy camp was noticed not only in The Avengers but in Batman And Robin. Not to mention her “not being even as pretty as Janeane Garofolo” in The Truth About Cats And Dogs.
**Lack of attention to detail in casting possibly threw up Luke Wilson instead of Owen, and then the coup of Rainn Wilson as his best mate. Someone thought they had the Wilson bros: they didn’t.
***Okay, this bit of the plot does not work, considering that Professor Bedlam, her arch-nemesis, has always known her secret identity – why does she have one?