My Ex-Ex (2015)

MYEXEX_R2_01_sizedDirector: Nathaniel Warsh
Writer: André Bharti
Starring: André Bhart, Katherine Barrell, Ray Galletti, Emily Alatalo, Tamara Duarte, Randal Edwards, & Alastair Forbes
Year: 2015
Country: Canada
MPAA Rating: NR (TV-MA)
Time: 89 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Romance
USA Release: 8/15/2017 (Netflix)

 

Bouncing off the success of the Syfy show Wynonna Earp and recurring guest star Katherine Barrell, this film, My Ex-Ex has a chance now to reach a bigger audience, as it makes its way to Netflix this week. I am unaware of how well it did at the box office either in Canada where the film was made or even in the U.S. which from the film’s twitter page did have a small run at AMC Theaters in ten major market cities. It seems that the success or failure of this film now lies within the VOD market which is the case for many indie films out there. Sometimes it’s just a matter of marketing, or money, or lack of interest at the time. There are some like myself who enjoy finding that small indie film (like this one) and know zero people in the cast but it’s the story that draws us in. Unfortunately, that is not the norm and many films fall to the wayside until (again like this film) one and it can take just one person to become mildly famous and suddenly EVERYONE wants to see said project. Now I’m not going to say that I myself do not fall into that category because I do. I’m that weird person who whether they just became more well-known or have been for a long time, I dive into their film history, looking at all or most of their early work. This project, however, is more like a halfway point in the current career of Ms. Barrell, as her earliest IMDb credit is a short film from 2011. It is also a big stepping point as it places her in what seems to be her first leading role in a feature-length film.

To get a sense of what’s going on with Mary (Katherine Barrell) we are taken back 6 years earlier when she is in college and currently dating Patrick (André Bharti). Patrick is not only a theater major but a major pot-head with little to no ambition. His roommate Rob (Randal Edwards) is the serious one to Patrick laziness and we see that in the difference between their rooms and also studying habits, as Patrick will just wing it. Even Mary who must love Patrick for his ability to make everything seem fun knows that she needs to be serious and study, although she hopes he’ll grow out of this immaturity at some point. Back in the present-day, she is now with Ted (Ray Galletti) who is the complete opposite of Patrick, Ted is all business all the time, which makes Mary seem like the lazy, at ease person. Which must be the reason for his sudden and complete surprise breakup after being with Mary for 2 years. This, of course, sends Mary into an emotional breakdown to which her friends suggest seeing a psychic to help her get back with her ex. However, said psychic doesn’t get the specific person Mary has in mind and instead Mary now runs into Patrick after all these years and must figure out if she is meant to be with Ted or college ex-boyfriend Patrick.

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Sandra (Emily Alatalo), Mary (Katherine Barrell) & Becky (Tamara Duarte) in “My Ex-Ex”

Okay, I’ll admit it, I knew nothing about this film until I looked at Katherine Barrell’s IMDb page a couple months ago when I started watching Wynonna Earp (you know I love back story). And because of that, I ask myself, is this the kind of indie film I might have found on my own when it appeared on Netflix…maybe? On Netflix, the description only says “Love can be messy and annoying and sometimes you need a psychic to make things right. This is one of those time” and these are the times when I really wish Netflix offered the trailer for all the movies they show and not just their original films. Overlooking that small annoyance, the film, written by co-star André Bharti (in his screenwriting debut) shows a lot of promise throughout but especially in the first thirty minutes of the film. We see the childish relationship that Mary has with Patrick and the drastic change to her current one with businessman Ted. But I feel like a lot of the underlining tone to this is Mary’s total affection for the men she is with but the lack of reciprocation coming back her way, especially with Ted. While she gets more ignored by Patrick in the college years (a little understandable as they are in college and everything is still changing and forming for not only the way they each treat a relationship but also how they look at themselves) Ted just treats her like a business deal, she is just in his life as some form of arm candy. But I’m pretty sure if he could clone himself he wouldn’t need her around at all. Which makes him dumping her seem like a blessing to the audience (I hope it wasn’t just me on this one, I couldn’t stand Ted) but that isn’t at all how Mary feels about the situation as she was thinking the impromptu dinner was for something else. The situation reminded me a little of the restaurant breakup in Legally Blonde but don’t worry, she doesn’t run after him to college to also become a lawyer, because she actually already is one!

It’s the proceeding scenes that follow they had me chuckling the most, Mary post dumped are some subtle comedy acting gold in my opinion. Katherine Barrell definitely has some comedy chops that I would like to see more of in the future. The short montage in its beautiful simplicity captures so much. She is just crying, drinking, and laying around feeling sorry for herself. A dangers combination of course, and adding reminiscing just makes it all the more perfect for Ms. Barrell’s scenes. The truest scene for me comes in a little later where Mary picks up a used tissue with her foot to blow her nose for the hundredth time. Perfection, you don’t see those kinds of things on film very often, that true to life, I don’t care how I look, pureness. But of course, life and breakups also include friends and it’s the other people in Mary’s life that keep her together and that is her two best friends Sandra and Becky played by Emily Alatalo and Tamara Duarte, respectively. And while I haven’t really seen Emily Alatalo in anything other than a Warehouse 13 episode, she had worked with Katherine in a film done the previous year (2014) called “The Scarehouse”. As for Tamara Duarte, I have only seen her in a few things which include again Warehouse 13 and also the film “What If”. However, she is currently playing Rosita on Wynonna Earp alongside Katherine. Man those Canadian’s cross each others path more than a black cat crosses your path on Halloween (sorry terrible joke). These two are your typical best friends (I assume since college) they have her back, have weird jokes and call her out on her crap. Which then becomes probably the most quotable line in the film “Jesus, for a hot girl you look like shit.” Unfortunately, that is all they are there for, well that and getting our girl Mary to the psychic which then leads to everything else and their scenes especially that of Becky becomes less frequent.

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Patrick (André Bharti), Jim (Jesse Camacho), Mary (Katherine Barrell), Sandra (Emily Alatalo), Nathan (Alastair Forbes), Rob (Randal Edwards) in “My Ex-Ex”

Most of the prospect for the script goes out the door after the first thirty minutes. We get a lot of good scenes in the first third of the film then it all starts to get on shaky ground as we proceed. Not only are we learning about Mary and her plans to get Ted back via the psychic, we are seeing that things haven’t really changed that much for Patrick. He is still trying the acting thing out, and from the looks of it, seems to be living life like he was still in college. Although his latest audition does let him show off his killer karate moves. Basically, it shows us that he is this nice, innocent guy that just needs to sit down and figure out what he wants out of life and the sudden blast from the past in the form of Mary kinda wakes him up to that, just maybe not right away. Like Mary, Patrick has his go-to guys in this, one being Rob (Randal Edwards) his long-time friend and Nathan (Alastair Forbes). While there have been many forms of guy friends in the history of film I would say they themselves are not your typical guys. One married, one single, both huge perverts. Unlike Mary’s girlfriends, we get to see Patrick’s friends on their own calling each other out on being pervs, while also maybe without realizing it trying to outdo one another. Between trying to take videos of girls and ball jokes these to start to take you too much a way from the real story by trying to turn it into a 30 somethings raunch-fest. As we enter the half-way point to the film we see Patrick hanging out with fresh-faced college kids. Making him and his friends stick out because they are in their thirties, and yet none of that matters or makes them feel weird or like pathetic. They think they are awesome for sticking around becoming “honorary frat members” because they are too old to actually pledge themselves. The scenes the follow at the frat house I felt went on too long and became increasingly weird, especially the scene between Rob, Nathan and a very drunk Sandra. I’m not going to go into detail on that other than to say that it was done for cheap laughs even if it was somewhat original. While the frat scenes do give us an understanding that Patrick has not grown up and that Mary needs to not be an adult at least for tonight, the scenes just went on too long. And what follows after that just starts to become painful at least the scenes involving Patrick, his friends and the yoga studio they go to.

But you know who I haven’t really talked about, Ted. Ted is played by Ray Galletti and like pretty much all of the cast in this film, I am unfamiliar with his past work. That being said the man can play narcissism with great ease. I hope that he is like the others that fall in this category, can play mean or womanizing characters great on screen but off they are some of the nicest people around. Because man, the whole movie I just wanted to punch him in the face. Ted treats everyone and everything like it’s their pleasure to just be in the same room as him. He thinks he is a master in the sack although how would he even know as he stares at his own portrait the entire time. And while we only have a couple major scenes scattered with him in the beginning, middle and end, we are never swayed to rooting for him at any point. Whereas the rest of our main characters experience changes to their lives whether it be for better or worse, he remains unchanged and still punch worthy up to the very end. Another important point to touch on is how the cast and the story despite some hurdles do seem to mesh well together. Our writer gives some very true to life dialog and situations that while border cliche also pokes fun at that, sometimes even saying “oh this is a cliche from a movie”. And while I do have some problems with the storyline, the biggest I have has to do with the character of Jim (Jesse Camacho) who within the story has some great scenes between him, Patrick and also Mary. However, to my dismay, our writer decided to make him our character to break the fourth wall at not only one random point more than halfway through the movie but also at the end. This breaking of the fourth wall with the chatter and his buddy rapping about what we are watching, not only makes zero sense to the continuation of the story, it just a waste period. Just because we know this character wants to be a rapper doesn’t mean he needs to randomly pop up and rap to us the audience.

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Mary (Katherine Barrell) in “My Ex-Ex”

So I’ll wrap up this review (no pun intended) with this, while the film has great potential throughout, with the performances and cast chemistry. The storyline begins to fail on them around the halfway mark with its frat party shenanigans and stereotypical guy jokes. Our main storyline while maybe a little “we have seen this before” gets a boost from its relatable dialogue between characters who tell it like is and it’s light humor in the face of heartbreak. Unfortunately, it seems that much of the viewing will be from fans of Wynona Earp who want to see Katherine Barrell and Tamara Duarte in another role outside of the show. Making it hard to tell if this will be one finding its way to non-Earpers just looking for something new to watch. My guess though will be, no.

2 Stars

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About Amanda L. Barnhart

I'm a avid film lover. I love collecting Blu-rays/DVDs, as well as movie posters. Along with doing that I'm an amateur film critic (having starting my site/blog in 2010). I'm also a photographer. I try to keep my site up-to-date with the newest reviews. (To Find Out More Click The "About Me" Button) So definitely subscribe if your interested, and don't be afraid to leave your thoughts in the comment box but please keep it nice & clean, Thanks!

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