The Ex: Lame, Except for Jason Bateman

To say that Jason Bateman saves The Ex from collapsing in on itself would be to suggest that The Ex is actually a worthwhile film, which it basically isn't. It's not the worst thing ever, and there are some laugh-out-loud moments (all of which feature Jason Bateman or else another skilled comedian, such as Amy Poehler or Fred Armison), but it's not really worth the price of admission. My advice: Unless you are a die-hard Jason Bateman fan and refuse to miss a thing he does, then you should wait — not until this is out on DVD, but until it's on TBS at some random time like 2:00 PM the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.


Zach Braff and Amanda Peet star as Tom and Sofia, a young couple pregnant with their first child. When the baby is born, Tom loses his job and the family move from New York to Ohio where Sofia's father gives Tom a job at his advertising agency. There Tom meets Chip (Jason Bateman), his wheelchair-bound mentor who also happens to still have a massive crush on Sofia from their high school cheerleading days. What follows is a string of SNL-type skits in which Chip tries to sabotage Tom's career, while Sofia learns stay-at-home mothering is not exactly what she wants. There's more to learn about The Ex, though, if you read more


It saddens me to harshly review a movie that stars Jason Bateman, since I believe him to be a kind of comedic magician. But I can take solace in the fact that it's not Bateman himself but the story that's lacking — oh, and the direction, and the editing, and the fact that the boom mike is in more than a few shots, and the utter lack of chemistry between Braff and Peet. The chemistry thing is partially due to the writing, but it's also because Peet comes across as an empty shell of a person.

It appears the original intention was for the focus of the film to be the young couple and the frustrations they face while on the "fast track" to boring-old-adulthood, hence the first title: Fast Track. However, that storyline is muddled and uninteresting, and it seems that at some point the filmmakers decided to concentrate more on Jason Bateman's role, since his is the most compelling performance in the movie.

My assumption is when they completed the film they realized the only good thing about it was Jason Bateman as "the ex," so they changed the title to divert attention from anything besides Bateman and his hilarious antics. Then, still figuring the reviews would be bad, they forbade critics from publishing reviews before the movie released. See, even the studio was wary of this movie, and I think audiences would be wise to follow suit.

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