Metro Weekly

Time Misspent

Hollywood spits out not one, but two, huge clunkers with an unfunny 'The Ex' and an unscary '28 Weeks Later'

Is there anything more dreadful than running into that ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend you just can’t stand? Now there is. At least the unexpected ex sighting lasts only as long as it takes to cross the street; The Ex (star)drags on for 90 minutes.

Not to be too picky, but there are two glaring misnomers in this new comedy that need to be addressed. One, you can’t call someone an ”ex” if he’s a friend with whom you had sex just once. And two, you can’t call it a comedy if it’s not funny.

The list of problems that plague The Ex is extensive, and it includes every member of the cast. It never fails to amaze that a strong cast can be so horribly misused. Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, Jason Bateman, Charles Grodin, Mia Farrow — they’ve all proven (to varying degrees) that they’re good. Together, though, it’s downright painful to watch them bumble through a ridiculous script.

The simple plot is stretched beyond belief: To make ends meet, new parents Tom (Braff) and Sofia (Peet) leave the Big Apple for the Buckeye State, where Tom will work for Sofia’s father, Bob (Grodin). Unfortunately for Bob, he’s a relic in a hip ad agency who spends his days watching his whale screen saver — cue Grodin moaning whale calls in the background. But this isn’t conflict, so the real challenge for Tom is the firm’s superstar, Chip (Bateman), who is wheelchair bound and likes to reenact high school cheers from his time as a cheerleader.

Tom manages to step in it with every predictable move he makes. Tell the guy in the wheelchair to jump for the ball. Oops. Speak with a brogue to the Irishman. Oops. Lose a big client. Oops. Add to that Chip’s scheming to get Tom’s wife, who is not his ex-girlfriend, and you have a doofus getting jerked around by a bigger doofus. Frankly, it’s hard to care.

For the most part, Braff does what he does best — a slightly awkward, slightly charming overgrown boy. It’s hard enough suspending disbelief long enough to accept that he’s a doctor on the sitcom Scrubs, but it’s even harder to see him locked in a battle for his family. Bateman does a marginally better job as the villain, but with absolutely no subtleness to his character he’s able to phone in his performance.

The whole Sofia storyline — professional urban woman copes with motherhood — might as well be cut from another movie. The utter lack of connection between the Tom and Sofia stories makes it feel like hers was added to help reach the 90-minute mark. The movie is so poorly edited and oddly paced that it makes you wonder if director Jesse Peretz left the funny on the cutting room floor in his attempt to piece together this clunker.

We all have those relationships we regret ever getting into — The Ex is one of them. Even a couple drinks isn’t going to make this one look better.

It doesn’t matter if it’s 28 days later, 28 weeks later, or 28 years later, you’ll regret sitting through this rotting corpse of a sequel.

What made 28 Days Later (star) worthwhile was everything that its sequel lacks — a small budget, low expectations, and the ability to both buck and embrace horror convention. Hollywood got a hold of 28 Weeks Later and killed off all that was good.

The entire film is based on the stupidity of its characters. Sure, no one is brilliant in a horror movie – whole franchises have been based on scantily clad women going to see if the scratching sound on the door was the madman who just escaped the insane asylum. But even they look like Mensa candidates compared to this bunch.

It has been 28 weeks since rage-fueled zombies decimated England and residents are slowly returning to London where the United States Army has taken control. As one family is reunited, it becomes apparent that the virus isn’t as dead as the Army brass thought and soon zombies are vomiting blood and poking out eyeballs left and right.

As if directed by an amateur film student, the movie relies on loud music, jump-out-of-the-dark scares, shaky camerawork, and bloody gore to frighten. Aside from one great helicopter scene, that lasts about 20 seconds, it’s an incredibly boring film with no performances of any note.

But for such a stupid bunch, they manage to survive for way too long. It’s a shame this one wasn’t just 28 Minutes Later.