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The Ex

Nothing Burns Like An Old Flame

Tom (Zach Braff) and Sofia (Amanda Peet) are two newlyweds with a baby on the way. Sofia has given up her job as a high-powered attorney to be a fulltime stay at home mom. Fortunately, Tom’s career as a chef is on the rise. Unfortunately, Tom’s low tolerance for bullshit and tendency to open his mouth at the wrong time gets him shitcanned in short order. In a desperate move, Tom and Sofia move to Ohio where Tom gets a job at the ad agency where Sofia’s father works. It is here where Tom has the misfortune to run afoul of The Ex.

Also known as Chip Sanders (Jason Bateman), the "ex" works at the same advertising agency as Sofia’s father. Talk about awkward situations; Tom has to see Chip every day and contemplate him having carnal knowledge of his wife. Compounding the awkwardness of this situation is the fact that Tom reports to Chip! Naturally, Chip loathes Tom and still has a thing for Sofia. Let the games begin.

Jason Bateman is more than up to the task in playing the smarmy, disingenuous, backstabbing ex, Chip. Bateman clearly relishes playing this role and truly does carry the film for the majority of the runtime. Bateman proved his gift for comedy on the hysterically brilliant "Arrested Development" and while the show was sadly cancelled, it’s great to see Bateman rewarded on the big screen for his talents. Chip is the kind of asshole you just love to hate.

Zach Braff is almost as amusing playing Tom, a relative sad sack who derives laughs from continuously finding himself in awkward situations. He’s pretty much always a step or two behind Chip and in short order finds himself on shaky ground with his father-in-law (brilliantly played by Charles Grodin), Sofia, and just about everyone in between.

Director Jesse Peretz does a reasonable job of creating some awkwardly amusing situations placing Chip and Tom at odds. There are a number of genuinely funny moments in The Ex. But, there is also a reasonable amount of predictability throughout the film that makes some of the humor in the film less funny that it would otherwise be.

But, Peretz should be given credit for assembling a reasonably solid comedy that has enough humor to keep an audience engaged for the majority of the runtime. The Ex is a portent of things to come for Peretz. His gift for milking the awkward situation will serve him well in his next comedic outing.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars