The Ex (PG-13)

Comedy 92 May 11, 2007
By Scott Foundas
When career slacker Tom (Zach Braff) gets fired from his latest job, he packs up his wife Sofia (Amanda Peet) and their newborn kid and trades life in the Big Apple for the calming pleasures of small-town Ohio -- Sherwood Anderson country. There, he takes up his sad-sack father-in-law (Charles Grodin) on the offer of an "assistant associate creative" position in a new-agey advertising company, only to find himself under the thumb of Sofia's paraplegic former high school classmate (and possible ex-flame), Chip (Jason Bateman), a seemingly benevolent cripple who's really Machiavelli on wheels. That's an inspired starting place for a farce, and director Jesse Peretz (working from a sometimes tasteless, often insidiously funny script by first-time screenwriters David Guion and Michael Handelman) has a knack for casting the kind of bright comic talent -- Amy Adams, Donal Logue, Mia Farrow, and Paul Rudd round out the ensemble -- who more or less just have to show up. The movie is Bateman's to steal, however, and he does early and often, whether reenacting an old high school cheerleading routine or trying to seduce Sofia by showing her the money shot from one of his favorite movies: Coming Home.
Jesse Peretz Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, Jason Bateman, Charles Grodin, Mia Farrow, Donal Logue, Amy Poehler, Amy Adams, Josh Charles, Fred Armisen David Guion, Michael Handelman Anthony Bregman, Anne Carey, Ted Hope The Weinstein Co.

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