Yup, I went there. On a plane, naturally. Drawn in by seeing some superhero trappings played out in a completely different type of film (romantic comedy), I tuned in.
In a funny way, My Super Ex-Girlfriend is a little bit more like a comic book than “mainstream” adaptations such Iron Man or Dark Knight. In those stories, the film makers have to try very hard to sell the concept to an audience, a big part of which is some level of “grounding the characters in reality.” In the comparatively less literal genre of an adult romantic comedy, no one is really worried about this. This allows for ludicrous moments like when the perturbed title heroin gets to throw a live shark into someone’s bedroom – perhaps one of the film’s more inventive scenes.
Also, many modern comics will give a lot of attention to the day-to-days of the superhero’s lives, a bit like a soap opera, allowing various plots to build up until they break out into a major story every once in a while. Of course, the mainstream superhero movie will almost always be about that big story, and we only get limited doses of the hero’s “ordinary life.” By contrast, My Super Ex-Girlfriend puts the heroing largely in the backdrop in order to focus on the relational “drama” between “G-Girl” (for that is her name) and an ordinary dude that she becomes attached to.
Aside from these little observations, there is not a whole lot to recommend here. The story is about that ordinary dude, Matt Saunders (played by Luke Wilson, who is pretty boring), who impresses the heroin G-Girl (Uma Thurman, who is potentially interesting, but not really here) when she’s in her secret identity, leading to the two starting a relationship. Saunders’ attractive but unattainable co-worker advises him to be careful because the new lady, though very good looking, is also erratic. When he discovers her secret identity as a well-known superhero, Matt assumes this explains her odd behavior. But as time goes on he learns the truth – the fact of the matter is that G-Girl, as heroic as she is, is also bit crazy. The transition in their relationship is more abrupt than you want for it to be believable, but nonetheless, eventually Matt dumps her in order to pursue his suddenly attainable co-worker, and it does not go well.
This leads to a couple of laughs as G-Girl really gives it to Matt (the shark moment, mentioned above, and also throwing his car into space). But mostly the film just keeps it broad and falls back on crude humor (a certain intensity of which I must have been spared as this was an airplane version of the movie) and Wanda Sykes (as Matt’s boss) acting sassy. There’s some fun to be had as Matt teams up with G-Girl’s arch enemy (played by Eddie Izzard), which leads to a bit more of a superhero-ish plot involving a rock that can drain G-Girl’s powers, but overall it’s a bit of a dopy and forgettable movie.
Which, I guess, is all I really expected it to be.