The Ex (Fast Track) (2006)

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Released 8-May-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Alternate Ending
Alternate Ending
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 87:42
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up ?
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jesse Peretz
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Zach Braff
Amanda Peet
Jason Bateman
Charles Grodin
Mia Farrow
Lucian Maisel
Donal Logue
Case ?
RPI ? Music Ed Shearmur


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format ?
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    With a talented cast including Zach Braff, Amanda Peet , Jason Batemen, Charles Grodin and Mia Farrow, The Ex should've knocked it out of the park. Instead we are left with a disappointing, fairly middle of the road workplace/relationship comedy where the 90 second trailer happens to deliver the best laughs of the movie. Unfortunately, it's a classic and all too often case of Hollywood's lost potential. That's not to say it was a bad movie, in fact I enjoyed a lot of it but couldn't help feel disappointed as the credits rolled.

      Braff and Peet play Tom and Sofia, young marrieds who are expecting their first child at any minute. Tom is constantly losing his job because he speaks his mind, drifting through a series of jobs while Sofia is a successful lawyer and the primary breadwinner for the family. Just as the baby is about to be born, Tom loses his job and decides to take up his father in law's (Grodin) offer to work in an advertising agency.

    This is where the Ex of the title comes into play, Jason Bateman plays Chip, a wheelchair bound, obsessive nutter, who dated Sofia in high school. Chip works at the agency and is quickly assigned to be Tom's mentor. Bateman's Miyagi to Braff's Macchio as the movie hilariously puts it. As it turns out Chip has always loved Sofia and has an agenda to get Tom out of the picture and get her back.

    The premise has potential, but in the end neither the script or the direction were up to the task. The cast deserved better. There are a few plot points that verge on the ridiculous and a twist that is a pretty cheap shot and cop out by the screenwriters.

    Interestingly, there were a few deleted scenes that would've helped flesh out a few key characters more and in my opinion would've improved the movie. That they were left out to presumably keep the running length short (at only 84 minutes another 4-5 minutes wouldn't have been a deal breaker) is disappointing. Another misstep was the amount of Amy Poehler's work that was left on the cutting room floor.

    If you go into the movie not expecting too much you will get more than a few laughs, but unfortunately it is not the classic that it had the potential to become. If you like the cast, it's definitely worth checking out as a rental.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and the disc is 16x9 enhanced.

    Unfortunately the transfer wasn't great. Often the image tended to be quite soft and was lacking the clarity of a quality transfer. Some scenes were better than others, but overall it was quite disappointing.

    Colours were better but not great. Some scenes were fine whilst others were washed out, even a little smudgy. Skin tones were realistic.

    Black levels were very murky and in a few night scenes it was a little hard to see what was going on.

    There were no MPEG compression issues, but there was some grain throughout some of the film that hurt the transfer even more.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio track was an below par  Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s) track.

    Dialogue had some serious issues that really surprised me. There were about 4 or 5 scenes when it sounded like the dialogue was being spoken into a tin bucket. It had a real hollow echo that I hadn't experienced before. Whether it occurred during some looping sessions or on set I don't know, but it was distracting and of course totally unacceptable. Audio sync was fine.

    The surrounds didn't get a workout at all, to be honest it felt more like a 2.0 track rather than a 5.1.

    The soundtrack was decent, but didn't really add the oomph that the audio track desperately needed.

    The subwoofer was used minimally, but given the type of movie this is that's not an issue.

    Overall, the audio track was very flat and of a disappointing quality.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Alternate Ending Part 1 (1:42)

    Not so much an alternate ending but scenes that would've been more of an extended sequence in the ending.

    Alternate Ending Part 2 (3:38)

    This was probably one of the most poorly written and executed alternate endings I have ever seen.

    Deleted Scenes (22:08)

    Twenty deleted scenes (seems a lot for a 84 minute movie doesn't it?) most of which were necessary to cut. But like I mentioned above there were a few that would've really helped the film. A few work related incidents that show more about Tom, the boss and a few other characters would've clarified a  few points that the theatrical cut seemed to gloss over.

    Trailer - Fast Track

    The trailer for the film, but with the name Fast Track instead. The Ex is an infinitely more appropriate name as Braff's character was on anything but the fast track from a career perspective.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The US version appears to have an alternate opening as well as a gag reel on top of the R4 special features. That gives it a slight advantage so the R1 version appears the way to go.

Summary

    Overall, a disappointment and a sad example of what could have been. Diehard fans of the cast should check it out though.

    The video was soft, a bit grainy and disappointing.

    The audio was flat and disappointing.

    Special features were ok, a featurette or two would've been interesting to get everyone's take on the movie.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Monday, May 26, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPioneer
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R1 DVD Version is missing scence - cztery