The early-year string of romantic comedies gets a major upgrade this week as the charming She’s Out of My League rolls into theaters. With its mix of great gags and sparkling chemistry throughout the entire cast, this movie separates itself from the usual rom-com fare, but not too far.
Check out the full review below. . .
- Director: Jim Field Smith
- Writers: Sean Anders & John Morris
- Cast: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, TJ Miller, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence, Krysten Ritter, and Kyle Bornheimer
Kirk (Jay Baruchel) is a dorky TSA agent whose romantic luck changes when an absolute knockout named Molly (Alice Eve) leaves her cell phone at his security checkpoint. This chance connection leads to a relationship between the two, one that threatens to be undermined by Kirk’s friend’s insistence that Molly is too good for him.
- The Gags: The film’s main aim is go after the joke whenever it can, often forsaking plot and character development in the process. And it works. The gags in this film are so strong that it’s easy to ignore the circuitous route the plot takes at times so that it can set them up. One gag in particular is so strong (and stomach-turning) that it may achieve a level of infamy on a par with the Apple Pie scene in “American Pie”.
- The Chemistry Between The Leads: So often in romantic comedies, we’re sitting in the theater wondering why these two people are together, or what anybody could possibly see in these two characters. Thankfully, that never happens in this film. The chemistry is so strong between Baruchel and Eve that they instantly seem like a couple without any suspension of disbelief required. Each character is so likable that it doesn’t take any stretch to see why one would be so smitten with the other. In fact, just about every character in this film is likable. . .
- The Supporting Cast: This film is loaded with a lot of fringe comedic talent. The type of actor that you’ve seen be funny in a number of different things, but have never quite been able to put your finger on. Each of these actors is given an excellent character to sink their teeth into in this film, be it Krysten Ritter’s delightfully cynical Patty (Molly’s best friend), Nate Torrence’s wonderfully innocent Devon (one of Kirk’s group of friends), or the outlandish bombast of Kyel Bornheimer as Nate (Kirk’s bully of a brother). This film does not only have great comedic performances from top to bottom, but the screenwriters took great care to make each role into a complete character, rather than just mouthpieces to deliver jokes. One such performance, really stands out. . .
- TJ Miller as Stainer: There are many fine comic performances in this film, but Miller gives an incredible breakout performance. He exhibits the rapid-fire vulgarity of Jonah Hill combined with the offbeat charm of Jason Lee. He’s trusted with a tremendous number of laugh lines in this picture, and handles them all with aplomb. This is a star-making performance for Miller – viewers will be quoting his lines and cracking up again for days after they see the film.
- The Devotion to the Gag in Lieu of Story: As mentioned above, this film is loaded with good gags, which it tends to lean on too much, forsaking plot and character development. The problem is while the film remains funny, the story simply rotates around itself from its first wrinkle until the climax. It follows the same pattern – fall in love, screw things up, reconcile, rinse, repeat – enough times that it seems as if there’s only a short film’s worth of plot stretched into a feature film. While the gags in this film are strong enough that the meandering plot doesn’t become a major issue, it is enough to keep it from becoming a truly great comedy.
She’s Out of My League is far from a perfect film, it becomes too unfocused at times and tends to repeat the same plot points severally. Ordinarily, this would make for a mundane film, but it’s just so funny and the characters so likable, that it manages to overcome the shortcomings of its structure with ease.
Rating this movie is much like the moment early in the film where Stainer tells Kirk why he’s a five, adding and subtracting points with various reasons. With this film, it goes down to a five based on structure and storyline, but gets two bonus points for the richness of its characters and its endless parade of solid gags. Plus a little extra cherry for Miller’s performance.
She’s Out of My League opens in wide release on March 12, 2010