I recently had a chance to rewatch this movie, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I saw it when it first came out in 2006, but it didn’t really grab me at the time. I think because back then superhero movies were finally being taken seriously, getting made with big budgets and big stars, and it seemed like a comedy like this was a step backward. I guess I kinda worried that films like this could lead to superhero movies go back to the days of the Joel Schumacher Batman films. but now I can put those notions aside, and judge the film purely on it’s own merits. Much like Robert Townsend’s Meteor Man (&, coincidentally, the superheroine of this film also got her powers from a meteor), it’s not really a superhero movie. It’s a movie that happens to have a superhero in it. And that makes all the difference. At it’s heart, this film is simply a romantic comedy. A guy falls for a girl, but then dumps her when she becomes too possessive, and so she stalks him tries to ruin his life and his new relationship. That could be the plot of Lifetime Original Movie, except in this film the girl happens to have superpowers.
Written by Don Payne and directed by Ivan Reitman, the film stars Luke Wilson as Matt, and average “nice guy”, who has an unrequited crush his co-worker, Hannah (played by Anna Faris), and spends his time hanging out with his slightly creepy buddy Vaughn (Rainn Wilson). One day on the subway, Matt sees a guy snatch a woman’s purse. He rushes and chases after the guy to recover the purse. The woman is Jenny (Uma Thurman), who seems like a mild-mannered nice woman, and she and Matt start dating, and eventually Jenny reveals that she’s actually the superheroine G-GIRL (I don’t think they reveal what the G stands for…Gravity?), but she swears Matt to secrecy, which he agrees to. But then he noticed Jenny becoming more possessive and controlling and unreasonably jealous, so breaks up with her. And that’s when the trouble start. Jenny becomes enrages, especially after he starts dating Hannah, and she uses her powers to follow him around and make his life miserable. This includes doing things like tossing his car into orbit, stripping him naked while he’s in the middle of an important business meeting, and even using her heat vision to boil his pet fish. Matt ends up getting fired by his boss (Wanda Sykes, essentially playing herself here), and makes plans to move out of town to get away from Jenny/G-Girl. But then he’s approached by G-Girl’s supervillain arch-nemesis Professor Bedlam (Eddie Izzard), who has a plan to take away G-Girl’s powers, and he gets Matt to go along with it, somewhat reluctantly. But can Matt really trust a supervillain? Well, I won’t spoil how it turns out, other than to say that there is a happy ending for all.
I’m sure that some could argue that the notion of the psycho spurned woman as a plot device is a bit sexist, and I can’t really argue with that. But the film just has a charm to it, that it doesn’t feel offensive. That’s in large part due to the cast. Wilson and Thurman, especially, are perfect in their roles, and have great chemistry, even when fighting with each other. The superhero aspects of the film are also rather generic, but they work in this context, and don’t feel any more or less standard than any comic-book. G-Girl and Bedlam were friends in High School, because they were both nerds that all the other kids made fun of and picked on. One night while on a date, a meteor lands, and Jenny touches it and because super-powered. She then becomes popular at school and start ignoring Bedlam, which leads him to become resentful and trying to destroy her. That origin isn’t much sillier than, say, the original reason Lex Luthor hated Superman. So even as a “superhero movie”, this film works. I find it enjoyable now, and I’ll give it 4 STARS