2006-08-11 / Columnists

MovieScope

By Robert Snyder

It's a cruel twist of fate (or Hollywood calculation) that comic-actor Luke Wilson should have a movie vehicle open the same time as did his comicactor brother, Owen. With Luke's "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" up against Owen's "You, Me and Dupree," it becomes painfully clear who is the better laugh-getter - Owen.

In "Dupree," Owen displays his nonstop comic gift as the ultimate goof-off backed by a wonderful supporting cast (maybe it helped that Owen is co-producer). However, the more low-key Luke is stuck in a conceptual misfire with "Super Ex-Girl Friend." And, his support team, headed by unfunny Uma Thurman as a super hero with a "Fatal Attraction" attitude, are no help.

Under the direction of the usually reliable Ivan Reitman ("Ghostbusters"), "Super Ex-Girlfriend" probably sounded like a sure thing in the pitch session. Emotionally shell-shocked architect Matt Saunders (Luke) is looking for an unthreatening love interest after a series of nutty prior girlfriends. He spots brunette, bespectacled Jenny Johnson (Uma) on a subway and comes to her aid when a thief snatches her purse. At least he thinks he does. In fact, the real crime fighting is done by Jenny's alter-ego, blond super hero G-Girl (we have to guess what the "G" stands for).

They date, have big-time (very bigtime) bed-moving sex, then head for a breakup because Matt sees her as another nutcase. However, Jenny/GGirl doesn't take rejection easily, transforming into a "Fatal" Glenn Close from Krypton. The insanity escalates until the flying Fantastic One tosses a snapping Great White at lovemaking Matt and his new girlfriend, Hannah (Anna Faris). When Hannah's line, "Why did G-Girl throw a shark at us?" does not get a laugh, you know the movie's in trouble.

The trouble isn't the standard special effects. It's the complete lack of comedic chemistry between Luke and Uma. Could Owen have done better? Yes, because the "Dupree" star is a master of comic invention, constantly coming up with funny stuff to fill up down time in even the flattest film. Since "Super Ex-Girlfriend" is such a film, it's clear that Luke is at a loss to do what his brother does so effortlessly.

Written by Don Payne ("The Simpsons," what happened?), "Super" has finished off the myth of the lame second banana. Rainn Wilson plays the obnoxious horn-toad buddy without one funny line. Eddie Izzard is supposed to be a Marvel Comics bad guy, Professor Bedlam, but doesn't do anything the least bit diabolical. He's also meant to have a closet crush on G-Girl but that, too, never materializes believably. Poor Luke. I hope his brother's easy on him. This is one cinematic sibling rivalry that Owen's going to win...particularly at the box office.

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