Nate's DVD Collection ~ The Ex (Unrated)
New father and recently unemployed Tom Reilly (Zach Braff) makes the move from New York to Ohio to take his father-in-law up on a job offer. Also working at the “Sunburst” advertising company is his wife's ex, Chip, a paralyzed man played by Jason Bateman, who secretly lusts for Reilly's wife and uses a warm smile, manipulation and general creepiness to try to get back into her panties.
Also starring Amanda Peet.
What I Like About It
Two things I generally enjoy, especially when you put them together, are Zach Braff and independent films.
Zach Braff is great because he's just such an everyday man. I look at him and I think yeah, I probably could have gone to high school with him. Maybe I saw him at work the other day. I would totally do him if he ever came out of the closet but I think it's such a tragedy because he's the straightest man on screen. Yeah, so I like Zach Braff.
I discovered independent films when I first saw Modern Vampires in high school with Casper Van Dien and Kim Cattral. Later in life I was introduced to the works of Kevin Smith, though I suppose Clerks is his only “independent” film as such.
What I like The Ex is that it isn't a cookie cutter film. Name me one other film where a disabled man gets thrown down the stairs and it's funny as hell? Go on, I'll wait.
Anyhow, Braff and Peet play very likable characters who are still trying to figure things out both as a married couple and as new parents. Even when they have their struggles, the story doesn't force us to take sides and actually shows us that no one ever has it figured out. Even people who seem to have figured it all out long ago were no better off than we are and that's really the main focus of the story.
What I Don't Like About It
kay, so I said this wasn't a cookie cutter independent film. And knowing there are only about sixty-four basic plots for a writer to choose from, it can get a little ridiculous when people try to find fifty other movies that even remotely resemble this movie's story. Heck, you know what? You, Me and Dupree have a strikingly similar plot and yet they're not the same film. I wouldn't even mention it in the same breath as this one.
But, I guess my only real beef is that Zach Braff seems to have a thing for movies where his character starts off working in a restaurant in a city somewhere, only to have the plot take place in some fairly rural area like Ohio or New Jersey.
Should You Buy This DVD?
There's definitely some unique moments in this movie. The extras seem to make it worth it and it would make a great movie to show a film or screen writing class.
Can My Kids Watch This?
For a supposedly “unrated” version of a film, The Ex was pretty tame. Probably the most “explicit” moment in the film was when Jason Batemen grabs Amanda Peet's behind while she's doing a routine from her cheer leading days.
There's also a scene in which a coworker tries to do “marriage counseling” and he makes a grab for their genitals to lighten the mood. But the lovely couple are appropriately disgusted and pop him a few times with foam bats before having a laugh later.
I don't think many kids under the age of twelve would have the attention span to keep up with the story, but other than the two scenes I mentioned there aren't too many “cover your eyes” moments to worry about if they were to walk in to the living room while you have it playing.