The Ex: Unrated Jesse Peretz

The Ex: Unrated Jesse Peretz

The unrated DVD edition of The Ex presents a situation I’ve never been faced with before. Having screened the theatrical version, it never dawned on me that they would change one of the film’s most significant plot devices, but Peretz went and did just that. The funny thing is, this is the last thing this not so funny film needed. It tanked at the box office and reducing it to something much lesser only damages the thin shreds of humour it initially had going for it. The plot isn’t half bad: Tom (Zach Braff) and wife Sofia (Amanda Peet) move from NYC to small-town Ohio to raise their baby. Tom takes a job with Sofia’s dad (Charles Grodin) at a granola-munching ad agency where he is under the guidance of ad exec Chip (a perfect Jason Bateman). The catch is that Chip is a paraplegic and also Sofia’s ex from high school, still pining for her in an inappropriate manner — cue the awkwardness. Tom quickly learns that Chip will stop at nothing to get back with Sofia, especially setting up Tom for the ultimate meltdown. There are some laughs, largely at Chip’s handicapped expense, but that’s what The Ex is supposed to be — a nasty black comedy — yet it continuously smothers itself with a PG-13 blanket. The "unrated” version strips the film of its big moment: Chip isn’t actually paralysed. Yes, you heard me correctly — the man can walk. But for some reason the DVD doesn’t want you to know that. There is an alternate ending that includes the big revelation, which was in fact the original theatrical and more effective ending. Why water down this film when it needs more provocative content in the first place? Even worse is neglecting to include the end credits scene where Chip struggles to realise that he has no job in Spain — a rather amusing way to close out this disappointing comedy. Unfortunately there is no commentary to justify this editing but there is an alternate opening featuring some undies landing on Braff’s head, which makes little sense but is actually quite funny. More deleted scenes and bloopers fail to add anything more. (Alliance Atlantis)