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Film Review: Burying the Ex (Joe Dante, 2014)

September 19, 2020

Anton Yelchin, Alexandra Daddario, and Ashley Greene in Burying the Ex (2014)

I saw Joe Dante’s Burying the Ex, which, along with the backordered Trapped Ashes and The Complete Metropolis, I bought when I got my stimulus check. I buy Joe Dante films blind these days like I did with Homecoming and The Screwfly Solution and wasn’t disappointed. The opening sets up this Judd Apatow/Adam McKay sort of feel (although I can’t say I ever really paid attention when my friends son put Step Brothers and Superbad on when I was over for Thanksgiving), but I ended up finding it extremely funny. I love how Max mourns Evelyn’s death with the scene of Bela Lugosi coming out of his house while Criswell tells us he is mourning his wife from Plan 9 from Outer Space. The business with the runner made me think of My Winnipeg. Sight gags, references to old horror films, the relationship dynamics all pack a lot into the short running time. I’m a big fan of Joseph LoDoca, probably the best choice for a Dante film with Goldsmith not resurrecting himself. The final pun in the film really cracked me up so no spoilers.

I did like how we at least saw Evelyn as a well-rounded human who can both be sweet and a nasty bitch. It certainly wasn’t a one-note performance from Ashley Greene, and it’s clear why Max cared for her so much and had difficulty breaking up despite how awful she could be to him and others. Travis was a one-note character, but we don’t see him as much. Max’s boss, Bloody Mary, never appears on screen, but if she had, she would have been one of those Orson Welles “star” parts where the actor barely has to do anything because the characters have said so much about her. It’s hard to imagine a store staying in business with “Thanks, and go to Hell”, as the concluding phrase of a transaction, even if it sells horror memorabilia. If she’d been more than an offstage presence, it might have just served to draw attention away from Greene. Maybe Bloody Mary should get her own movie.

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