Aspiring novelist Graham (writer-director Alexander Poe) has racked up 27 ex-girlfriends and counting. His latest relationship has already bitten the dust before he bumps into a former fling (Kristen Connolly) at a party; while he tries to rekindle their romance, he discovers she’s currently dating a guy who happens to also be seeing another of Graham’s exes (Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter). Cue assorted high jinks and heartbreak.
These early scenes, in which Graham guides us through the awkward, weirdly shallow waters of the Columbia University dating pool, are later revealed as a grad-school writing assignment read to a skeptical, disapproving class. The other students, naturally,
hate Graham’s “problematic, flat characters” and reject his awkward use of second-person narration. Unfortunately, his classmates have a point about his work—the characters are flat; the voiceover is awkward—but rather than take their advice to heart, Graham presses forward. When he brings his next story in for another peer review, he proudly announces that he has taken none of their suggestions. True to his word, his prose remains defiantly tedious, and there’s little doubt that Poe faced similar naysayers while crafting his first feature film. Such blind determination in the face of adversity may be admirable to some, but Ex-Girlfriends is one case in which you truly wish life didn’t cling so closely to art.
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