The Ex Movie Poster Image

The Ex

Uneven Braff comedy OK, but lacks excitement.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Tom is a maverick who says it like it is, even when he's shoving his foot down his mouth and offending others. He also taunts and stalks a kid (who gives him the finger) and lies about an incident at work. Chip is a sociopath bent on destroying Tom at any cost, even if it requires lies, deceit, and outright violence.

Violence

Fairly brutal fistfights between Tom and Chip, plus a basketball game among men in wheelchairs that's pretty intense. One character pushes another down a flight of stairs.

Sex

Tom and Sofia come on to each other, with varying degrees of success. Kissing, groping, and much innuendo about one character's generously sized genitals. Some graphic description of sex acts and unusual positions. Allusions to past conquests and tips from a married man on how to get more action. Pornographic material shows up on a laptop. A man sits naked in a chair with a towel across his lap.

Language

"F--k," "s--t" (used by both adults and a child), "dips--t," "slut." The words aren't used frequently, but pointedly.

Consumerism

Tom works at an ad agency, so some products are labeled (though for the most part, they're made up).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking during toasts and similar events -- and, once, after a character loses his job, he drinks scotch during the day.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a crass comedy aimed at 13-year-olds who like jokes at others' expense. A character in a wheelchair is ridiculed, a cartoon character is a racial stereotype, and there's lots of innuendo about a character's large genitals. There's a generous helping of "f--k"s and "s--t"s, along with scenes in which a husband and wife negotiate when and how to be intimate beyond basic canoodling, two men talk about what makes a wife willing to have sex with her husband, co-workers gossip how a physically disabled man pleases a woman, and more. Plus, an elementary-school-age kid gives Tom the finger and swears, and the two main male characters do lots of fighting and trash talking.

Parents say

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What's the story?

In THE EX, Tom Reilly (Zach Braff), who can't seem to hold down a job, agrees to uproot his wife Sofia (Amanda Peet) (who stopped practicing law to become a stay-at-home mom) and their newborn from Manhattan to Ohio. There, Tom joins Sofia's father, Bob (Charles Grodin), in the ad business. Bob assigns Chip (Jason Bateman), a go-getting creative director stuck in a wheelchair, to be Tom's mentor. But it's animosity -- not admiration -- that develops between the two. Meanwhile, Tom and Sofia are locked in a post-birth haze, trying to find out who they are as parents, individually, and as a couple.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Bateman is in fine form, exhibiting the genius blend of deadpan delivery and outright zaniness that he perfected in his critically acclaimed sitcom Arrested Development. Braff does good work, too: Wacky and wry, he's as good as he gets in Scrubs. And Peet, as she did in the dearly departed TV drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, grounds the entire enterprise by being sweetly unaffected yet funny. Grodin and Mia Farrow (as Sofia's mother, Amelia) are, unfortunately, cut from the same oddball-parents cloth already worn to better effect in Ben Stiller's Meet the Parents. Had The Ex's script allowed Grodin -- who's back in the big-screen game after more than a decade away -- to shine in his trademark kinetic-laconic style (see The Heartbreak Kid and Midnight Run), it would've served his talents better and made for a funnier movie. And Farrow simply acts dumb, which is a waste of an intelligent actress.

The scenes in which Tom and Sofia struggle with their new roles -- she, joining an infant massage class in which everyone seems crunchier than she is, and he, presenting charts he has absolutely no idea how to explain -- are believable and surprisingly sympathetic. Still, it's unoriginal. Their struggles read like the cinematic version of the famous parenting book What to Expect: The First Year. Though some of the movie's jokes and gags work -- a scene in which Sofia tells her hippie "frenemy" that her son is a "dips--t" is hilarious -- just as many simply don't: When employees at the ad agency pass around an imaginary "yes" ball, for instance, and another bit about a New Age-y co-worker who attempts to provide marriage counseling to Tom and Sofia. A side plot about a neighbor's boy is a nice distraction but calls out for more development, as do many of the inspired cameos from the likes of Amy Poehler, Donal Logue, Josh Charles, Amy Adams, and Paul Rudd. Still, it could have been worse. The bummer is knowing that it could have also been a whole lot better.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the media sets up expectations about parenting roles. Do movies and TV shows gloss over the difficulties of parenting, or are they portrayed with clichés? Also, how is Chip's physical handicap handled in the movie? Do people have preconceived notions about those who are impaired? What are they, and how can they be dispelled? How is Braff's character in this movie different from many of the more-vulnerable characters he's played in the past? What do you think made him branch out?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 10, 2007
DVD/Streaming release date:August 21, 2007
Cast:Amanda Peet, Jason Bateman, Zach Braff
Director:Jesse Peretz
Studio:Weinstein Co.
Genre:Comedy
Run time:92 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sexual content, brief language and a drug reference.

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Adult Written byeagle_wings2000 April 9, 2008

Get Rid Of It!!!!!!!

Get rid of it, it stinks and not fit for people under 45
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

The ultimate throw-away comedy!

I went into this not expecting much, but I came out of it very much pleased. This is a very cute little comedy that deserves some attention. Parents, be warned; there is some very iffy sex talk, slapstick-ey fist fights, and some very quirky scenes that are unpredictable and may cause kids under 12 to squirm in their seats. Anyway, this was a great movie to see once and then keep in the back of your mind forever. Take your teens and prepare yourself for 90 minutes of comedy gold made just for teens. Keep an eye out for an Amy Adams (Princess Giselle of "Enchanted") cameo!
Teen, 14 years old Written bydirecterdude123 April 9, 2008

VERY BAD!

This movie only had one funny part and that was one that was in all the camercials for it. There was some adult material but over all I would say that it is ok for 12+