One of the freshest movie premises of the summer — and one of the best casting choices, Uma Thurman as a superhero using her powers to exact payback on the man who jilted her — are utterly wasted in “My Super Ex-Girlfriend.”
This comedy is so unfunny, it’s like director Ivan Reitman and company had their senses of humor tranquilized from guzzling kryptonite lattes.
After a string of comedy hits in the 1980s and ’90s including the “Ghostbusters” flicks, “Twins” and “Dave,” Reitman’s output has slowed to a trickle, this latest dud following his 2001 flop “Evolution.”
First-time screenwriter Don Payne, a veteran writer for “The Simpsons,” hit on a potentially delightful premise but executes it blandly as “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” lumbers through dreary sight gags and drearier patter.
With his aw-shucks plainness, co-star Luke Wilson is a weak and boring counterpart to Thurman. It’s not too believable her wonder woman of a superhero would fall for this sleepy sheep in the first place, let alone care enough to go hell-hath-no-fury ballistic on him after he dumps her.
Thurman stars as Jenny Johnson, whose teenage encounter with a meteorite gave her super strength, the ability to fly and other powers. Toiling as a mild-mannered art curator by day, Jenny moonlights as G-Girl, a hot, chic superhero fighting crime and doing the usual good deeds.
Trouble is, Jenny seems to have missed out on the mentoring that taught Superman and Spider-Man that great power brings great responsibility. Needy and neurotic, Jenny becomes a clinging girlfriend to architect Matt Saunders (Wilson), who’s initially thrilled at bedding a superhero but soon decides to break it off over her possessive behavior.
Jenny vows revenge, especially as Matt begins to romance co-worker Hannah (Anna Faris). A scene where Jenny tosses a live shark at Matt is mildly amusing, but most of her other little retributions are tame and lame.
Thurman is ravishing as G-Girl and alluring in a schoolmarmish way as the mousy Jenny, and she injects far more spirit into the character and dialogue than the script contains. She’s endearingly compulsive as Jenny and boisterously psychotic as G-Girl in reprisal mode.
Wilson is so banal he kind of evaporates alongside Thurman. Even worse, Rainn Wilson as Matt’s know-it-all buddy is given such feeble wisecracks to spout he kind of evaporates alongside Matt.
Faris is forgettable, Eddie Izzard is tossed in to little purpose as G-Girl’s archrival, and Wanda Sykes has a few shrill scenes as Matt’s boss.
In retrospect, Reitman owes so much of his early reputation to Bill Murray, who elevated “Stripes,” the “Ghostbusters” movies and even “Meatballs” to comic heights the scripts probably didn’t merit.
Turn back the clock 20 years and imagine how “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” might have turned out with Murray and say, “Ghostbusters” co-star Sigourney Weaver as the spurned ex. That’s a scorned-superwoman comedy we’d like to see.