"The Ex" feels like one of those movies that turned into something else somewhere along the way. Originally called "Fast Track" and about a couple dealing with a child on the way, the picture is now called "The Ex" and is, instead, a lowbrow comedy that is more a sitcom than star Zach Braff's "Scrubs". Speaking of "Scrubs", that's good entertainment. This....well, this not as much.
The picture stars Zach Braff as Tom, a 20-something who keeps finding himself getting fired, with the lasted canning coming from standing up for a co-worker at a restaurant. After wife Sofia has their child, Tom takes a job offer from his father-in-law (Charles Grodin) and heads from New York City out to Ohio to work in an advertising firm.
It takes him a while to get used to working at his father-in-law's firm, especially after being paired up with Chip (Jason Bateman), a handicapped young man who seems to have a dark side that's out to make Tom look bad. He's also had a crush on Sofia for years, and she shares the fact that the two of them once slept together. As the movie goes on, Sofia becomes more stressed out taking care of their child, while Tom becomes strained having to compete with Chip at the office.
The movie's main issue is the script: writers David Guion & Michael Handelman just don't take the concept very far, chosing to stick with lowbrow gags and the occasional slapstick bits. Director Jesse Peretz also seems incapable of handling comedy, as the movie seems incapable of building bits to any sort of payoff; the material isn't great, but Peretz doesn't do anything to elevate it beyond blandness. Sadly, neither does Braff, who - like Peet - seems a tad disinterested. I'm surprised that the two don't have more chemistry, as they seemed like a match on paper. Bateman, fresh from "Arrested Development", gets a few laughs in an enjoyably smug performance.
Overall, "The Ex" has a great cast, but the performances are just average and the material just forgettable. The DVD apparently offers the unrated version, but I didn't notice any material that stood out as particularly "unrated".
VIDEO: "The Ex" is presented by Genius Products/Weinstein Home Entertainment in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a decent presentation from the studio, with image quality that remains average-to-above average. Sharpness and detail are perfectly fine throughout the show, as the picture appeared crisp and well-defined, if never razor sharp. Some minor artifacting and slight edge enhancement appeared, but no specks, marks or other faults were seen. Colors were bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other concerns.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was purely a "comedy mix", with little for the surrounds to do. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and no distortion or other concerns.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, alternate endings and the trailer.
Final Thoughts: "The Ex" is a disappointment, as the comedy seems all too sitcom-ish, with a great cast wasted on so-so material. There's a few minor laughs here (largely thanks to Bateman), but they're too few-and-far-between. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality, with a few minor extras.
The Film C