She’s Out of My League (2010)
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, and TJ Miller
Directed By: Jim Field Smith
Written By: Sean Anders and John Morris
The romantic comedy genre isn’t exactly one that’s bursting with freshness. It’s pretty much all been done before: two people meet, they start to fall in love, they fight and break-up only to get together again right before the credits roll. Some of them can be quite good (largely due to the charm of the cast involved), yet I find most fall short of anything that warrants a second viewing. Thankfully, She’s Out of My League has more in common with the first group than the second. While it obviously arrives in the same place as all romantic comedies do, it takes a somewhat different path to get there.
Kirk (Baruchel) is basically a loser. He doesn’t have a college degree, he works at a dead-end job, has an old beat-up Dodge Neon, and has loser friends (led by Miller’s Stainer…yes, that’s his name). Worst yet, his family more or less adopts his now ex-girlfriend (Lindsay Sloane’s Marnie) and seems to prefer her over him. Such is life for Kirk. Enter Molly (Eve), an absolute knock-out of a woman, who Kirk helps through the security checkpoint. Just as chance would have it, Molly forgets her cellphone at the checkpoint and it’s up to Kirk to return it. Thus starts a very unlikely romance.
We soon find out Molly is basically a woman who only exists in movies: she’s beautiful, intelligent, currently single, and she likes hockey (hello!). Best of all, she’s into an awkward and nerdy guy like Kirk. Somehow. Naturally for every fun date (like to a Pittsburgh Penguins game or a simple walk through a park), there are obstacles that must be overcome. There’s the obvious stud ex-boyfriend Kirk has to cope with (Geoff Stults’ Cam; a fighter pilot who’s codename is “Foot Long”) and there’s Kirk’s family and friend’s bewilderment that the coupling is even possible. Most of all, however, there’s Kirk own self-esteem issues that he has to conquer. Ultimately, he has to decide to face those issues and get back with Molly or simply settle for Marnie. Take a wild guess which one wins out.
Been there, done that, right? Perhaps. However, there really is a rather different road taken to the destination. It basically spins the genre around. This time it’s the average guy (who remains average the entire time), who gets the ten. There’s no “ugly duckling turns into a swan” moment here, unless you count Kirk emerging from his own shell. That’s the best part of the movie. It doesn’t matter if Molly thinks Kirk is good enough for her (and she really does), it’s only when he accepts the fact that she really is into him will it ever work out. Another nice touch is the big speech at the end: it’s given by Molly, not Kirk. It makes sense given how the two characters are established. Of course, this isn’t just a sweet romantic comedy either: there’s plenty of very funny gross-out moments. Just be warned.
The rest of the cast do their part. TJ Miller is really funny as the main friend. He’s a jerk, plain and simple, but he’s also a caring jerk when it comes down to it. Kirk’s family are hilarious in their own individual ways. There’s his abusive older brother Dylan (Kyle Bornheimer) who always gets his way. His and Kirk’s garage hockey shootout scene is very fun (and also important for Kirk’s character). Sloane’s Marnie is exactly what she’s supposed to be in a movie like this: semi-attractive, man-eater, and a weight that holds Kirk down. Her jealousy over Molly is hilarious, if not obvious. The real star of the supporting cast is Krysten Ritter who plays Molly’s bitchy best friend Patty. Also extremely attractive, you won’t believe the things she says throughout the movie. Probably the funniest character of the film, her rather limited screen time is all gold.
The two stars, of course, are Baruchel and Eve as the leads. There was some doubt if a bit player like Baruchel could carry a movie on his own, but he does a very nice job. You sympathize with him just as much as you root for him. His every day, dorky guy really gives the movie it’s balance. He also plays off of Eve extremely well. The two have surprisingly strong chemistry together. Eve’s Molly, as stated before, only exists in movies. She’s more or less perfect (besides a defect), but it’s not just her looks. Molly is just a really nice character. It’s believable that the two could end up together if the stars align just the right way. Of course, we all know that somehow they do.
Bottom Line: She’s Out of My League is a very cute, funny, and (mostly) inoffensive movie. It’s a story told over and over again, but as the saying goes, the journey is more important than the destination. There’s enough twists in the usual logic of the genre to make this movie feel fresh. It’s not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but the cast (especially the two leads) make this one a keeper.