Plot: Tom (Zach Braff) moves his wife, Sofia (Amanda Peet), and new baby to Ohio, so he can work for his father-in-law and finally try to support his family. But he’s in for a headache when Sofia’s ex-boyfriend Chip (Jason Bateman) wheels in to steal the show and Sofia.
Who’s it for: Perhaps expectant mothers thinking about giving up their day job, or people who think an ex might secretly be crazy.
Expectations: I’m a fan of almost everyone involved here. Plus, stories about a vengeful ex haven’t been done to death, so I figured there were some good laughs to be had.
Zach Braff as Tom: The first seasons of “Scrubs” are amazing, and “The Garden State” cemented Braff as a great newcomer … But “The Last Kiss” and now “The Ex” are slowing killing the momentum Braff had going. At some point he should have been able to say, “Wait a minute, what’s funny about this?”
Amanda Peet as Sofia: She’s wasted. Sofia is a recent mom who reads all the books, is excited about motherhood and then gets bored out of her mind. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before.
Jason Bateman as Chip: Just like Braff, I can list Bateman’s great past work, which ranges from “Silver Spoons” to “Dodgeball.” There are a few moments when he drops a quiet one-liner with great effect, but otherwise he comes off as creepy and detached, not giving us a chance to love or hate his antics.
Rest of the Cast: It’s good to see Charles Grodin again, but he was wasted along with Mia Farrow, Donal Logue, Fred Armisen, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler and Amy Adams.
Talking: They attempt to create catch phrases, such as a new way to apologize, but it all falls flat. And it appears their idea of dark comedy is saying that Tom gave Sofia’s dad a drinking problem. I fail to see the humor.
Sights and sounds: While “Miracle Drug” by A.C. Newman is a good song, it just doesn’t fit — like the rest of the soundtrack. And yes, Zach Braff can do a good pratfall, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be funny every time, especially after something serious just happened.
Best scene: When Chip talks Tom into playing wheel-chair basketball there isn’t tons of laughs. But when Tom gets his fingers constantly jammed, at least it felt real, unlike the rest of the film.
Ending: So everyone ends up forgiving and liking Tom? And Sofia says she could never stop loving him, which would have been good for him to know earlier. Also, didn’t Tom want to be a chef? Besides the money, it seemed that is what he wanted to do, not an ad man.
Random thoughts: Why have Amy Poehler, Amy Adams and Paul Rudd in your movie if you aren’t going to give them anything funny or interesting to do?
Rewatchability: Just like a real ex, this movie isn’t worth seeing again.
“The Ex” should be good. It’s got a well-known, talented cast from top to bottom and the subject of ex-boyfriends is limitless. Instead it has the feel of a straight-to-DVD failure. This movie isn’t really about having an ex come back in your life, which is a shame. Instead, there’s a wacky company and a kid that can swallow stuff. “The Ex” stays in the wishy-washy middle instead of going really dark. Typically, an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend can at least make for a great story at a party, but not this time.
Overall Grade: 3