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Movie Review

Matt Saunders is an easygoing everyman who's long on likeability but short on luck with the ladies. But his fortune changes when he meets the mousy-but-intriguing Jenny Johnson on the subway. Chemistry kindles quickly, and Matt believes he's finally found a woman who's not neurotic.

At first, Matt doesn't notice how Jenny's unnerving tendency to disappear in moments of crisis corresponds with the exploits of the ultrapowerful superheroine G-Girl. As he talks with his best friend, Vaughn, and his pretty co-worker, Hannah, each day at the office, Matt initially gives Jenny's erratic behavior the benefit of the doubt. But when she confesses her true love—and reveals her secret identity—things go from weird to worse. Her occasional neediness degenerates into possessiveness and jealousy, especially when Hannah is around. Soon Matt has had enough, and he breaks the news to Jenny that she's just not the one for him.

Jenny, in turn, breaks just about everything in his life. Matt endures the fury of a wonder woman scorned as she mercilessly destroys his home, his car, his pet fish, his career, his forehead (more on that later), his growing friendship with Hannah and his hope for any kind of normal life.

Enter G-Girl's supernemesis, Professor Bedlam, who's watched and waited for exactly this scenario. Bedlam has discovered the secret to neutralizing G-Girl's powers, but he needs Matt's help to do the dirty deed. And Matt is just desperate enough to cooperate, as his psychotic super ex-girlfriend seems bent on exacting her vengeance upon him forever.

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Positive Elements

It goes without saying that G-Girl—on her good days—is a beloved superhero whose exploits include vanquishing criminals, extinguishing skyscraper infernos and deflecting errant missiles. She uses her extraordinary (and Superman-like) powers for the good of humankind.

Matt is no superhero, but he nevertheless attempts to chase down a thief who steals a woman's purse on the subway. Vaughn and Hannah aren't the best influences on Matt (especially Vaughn), but they are loyal to him. Matt, in turn, tries to shield Hannah from Jenny's violent attempts to take revenge on him. For her part, Jenny has a few moments where she tries to apologize for her psychotic, controlling behavior. A climactic scene finds Matt reconciling the many volatile relationships in the film.

Spiritual Content

Characters use the phrases "Thank God" and "God knows" a handful of times.

Sexual Content

My Super Ex-Girlfriend is, unfortunately, supersaturated with sexual content. For starters, all of the characters have a Sex and the City-like attitude toward physical intimacy. It's assumed that sexual intercourse early in the relationship is normal.

Jenny says she won't have sex with Matt on the first date, but probably the second—which is exactly what happens. After returning to Matt's apartment, Jenny rips Matt's shirt and pants off before they loudly make "super" love that breaks Matt's bed and partially wrecks a bedroom wall. (We see him in his underwear and her in lingerie, and also hear her moaning.) When Jenny tells him, "I'll get you a new one," he replies, "A bed or a penis?" During the scene, Bedlam has maneuvered a robotic spy bird onto the ledge outside Matt's apartment; it's implied that he watches the whole thing. Later, Matt appears naked, with the camera catching his exposed behind for a couple of shots.

Jenny does a partial striptease for Matt that reveals her G-Girl costume, after which they go flying together and have sex in mid-air. She's also shown in lingerie as she changes clothes during another encounter. Near the end of the film, Matt beds Hannah twice as well (she's seen in a tank top and underclothes). A final sex scene finds Vaughn victoriously bedding a female bartender (shown in her bra) he's pursued much of the film.

Sex is the only thing Vaughn thinks or talks about. He counsels Matt that Jenny's neurosis will enable guilt-free, no-strings-attached sex, a suggestion Matt finds "both repugnant and intriguing." Matt's friend also makes numerous other crude references to sex, including one truly repulsive reference to oral sex. To top it off, he lusts after women everywhere he goes.

At work, Matt (and the camera) ogle Hannah's behind as she's on a ladder. Their boss, Carla, sees him, calls him on it, and asks Hannah if she wants to file a sexual harassment report (she doesn't). Hannah also tells her co-worker that she found her boyfriend in bed with three other women. Bedlam asks Matt if he's ever looked at anything on the Internet besides porn. Several jokes are tinged with homosexual double entendres.

Violent Content

There's quite a bit of slapstick, action-comedy violence in this film. Among the most violent of these scenes are Jenny getting hit by a car and being thrown perhaps 50 feet; Hannah being blown through a glass window after an explosion; and a radial saw flying into the shoulder of one of Bedlam's goons (no blood is shown).

Jenny's physical mistreatment of Matt after he breaks up with her includes throwing his furniture around, blasting him against the wall with her super breath, turning her thermal vision on his fish bowl and boiling the water and goldfish (which nevertheless lives). She also bends a steak knife in her hands in anger (no blood). Jenny finds Matt and Hannah in bed together at her apartment and hurls a live great white shark through the window. It almost bites Matt's crotch before going out another window, and we hear screaming people below.

Other violent incidents include Matt getting manhandled and slapped several times by Bedlam's henchmen, then dangled upside down from the Statue of Liberty. G-Girl drops a car full of criminals on the street; they shoot at her, but the bullets merely rip her clothes slightly.

Jenny threatens to do bad—and specific—things to Matt's anatomy with a chainsaw should he ever reveal her secret identity. Matt later has a nightmare that includes Jenny showing up with a chainsaw to make good on her promise (she doesn't).

[Spoiler Warning] Bedlam's plot to neutralize G-Girl's powers inadvertently transfers some of their potency to Hannah. Jenny and Hannah then engage in a superpowered, tornado-like catfight that includes a van being thrown across the street and Hannah being hurled through an underwear billboard featuring her ex-boyfriend (she flies through his crotch, of course). They eventually fall through a roof.

Crude or Profane Language

God's name is misused almost 20 times, including "g--d--n" three times. The s-word, "a--" and "h---" are each used half-a-dozen times. Characters hurl nasty labels (including "a--hole") at each other in a handful of instances, and several people use crude language to describe having sex. In her fury at being scorned, Jenny uses her thermal vision to burn the word "d--k" into Matt's forehead (it's then spoken a couple of times). A woman catches Vaughn leering at her at the gym and gives him the finger.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Matt and Jenny drink wine together in three scenes. Vaughn is shown with a line of five shots in front of him at a bar. Matt and Vaughn drink beer together at the same bar. Bedlam suggests that he and Matt go have a beer.

Other Negative Elements

In addition to all the premarital sex, the biggest moral concern of this story is Jenny's unquenchable, psychotic desire to take revenge on Matt. Not only does Jenny toss her ex-boyfriend around like a rag doll and destroy his property, she also sabotages an important business presentation Matt is making to prospective clients, embarrassing him in the process and causing him to lose his job. At another point, her jealousy of Matt spending time with another girl (even in Jenny's presence) almost keeps her from saving the city from an incoming missile. Equally problematic, it seems, is Matt's eventual willingness to go along with Professor Bedlam's plan to siphon away her powers.

Jenny works at an art gallery that includes some bizarre statues. One depicts a disembodied human arm; another imagines a deer giving birth to a human female. The gallery also features a number of nude sculptures of women.

Conclusion

In the 1980s, Ivan Reitman was one of Hollywood's premier comedic action directors. Among his many hits, Ghostbusters was arguably the high-water mark. Since then, we've witnessed the rise of two other popular genres (in film and on TV): superhero stories and Sex and the City-style tales about the quest for love via physical intimacy. This film merges equal doses of all three types of stories.

At times its lightheartedness reminded me of the pure zaniness of '80s action comedies. Other times it parodies the now-common superhero clichés we've grown used to in films that feature tortured superheroes such as Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and even Superman. Instead of those characters' wrenching introspection, however, Jenny Johnson, aka G-Girl, embodies over-the-top neurosis that's sometimes very funny.

If only Reitman (and the film's screenwriters) could have resisted the temptation to add so much sexual content, from the characters' proclivity for jumping in bed together to nonstop innuendo. Indeed, the sheer volume of sexual content, while not R-rated, is still overwhelming. Because it's all played for laughs, we're somehow supposed to dismiss the sexual peccadilloes of these mostly likeable characters as harmless fun.

That's as impossible as flying through the air in a skintight suit. As breezy as their tone may be, movies such as My Super Ex-Girlfriend continue to prove that we're wise to keep our guard up. A few weeks ago, my pastor gave a sermon in which he defined the word worldliness as "anything that makes sin look normal." That idea definitely applies here, as this film's comedic take on sex sends deceptively dangerous messages about what constitutes normal sexual behavior in our world today.

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Objectionable Content

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Plot Summary

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Other Belief Systems

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Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

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