One template for successful action comedies is Ghostbusters. The film's action sequences and special effects are fine, and mainly they don't get in the way of poised performances and funny writing.
Then there is the action comedy Super. The action sequences and special effects are fine. The performances are perplexing. The writing is embarrassing.
Super, an aggressively bad movie, stars Rainn Wilson as Frank, a schlub whose wife leaves him. After a vision, he puts on a colorful superhero costume and fights lowlife criminals. I can discern no connection between the two plot developments, other than a silly scene in which Frank moronically asks a cop to arrest the guy (Kevin Bacon) who stole his wife (Liv Tyler), as if that were a crime.
The film also stars Ellen Page as a comic-book store clerk who convinces Frank to let her be his crime-fighting sidekick. It's a measure of the film's incompetence that writer and director James Gunn can't find much for the fine comedians Page and Wilson to do except scream at each other.
I like that the film's action sequences aren't the stylized violence we're used to seeing in superhero movies. Instead the fights are gory and confusing, as you might expect them to be in real life.
But that's the only compliment I can muster for this lame film, a comedy whose gags are predicated on themes like developmentally disabled people and prison rape. You know, funny stuff.