Sunday, March 21, 2010

Love: She's Out of My League

In the new world of comedy Judd Apatow reigns supreme with often mean spirited bromance, while Queen Nancy Meyers plays blithering middle-aged house with equally unattractive (personality wise) cohorts. As a result, I wasn't expecting anything much from She's Out of My League. I didn't even know that I was expecting something to be different. Trained by my love of Apatow's films like Superbad and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, I wasn't expecting the sweetness and sincerity that once made romcoms watchable and fun on a date night, didn't even know that existed anymore. But She's Out of My League is out of the league of nearly every romcom released in the last ten years and exactly what a date movie should be: fun, hilarious, sincere, sweet, and just generally well done.

Kirk Kettner (Jay Baruchel) is a "loser" with a horrible family and ex-girlfriend that take any and all opportunities to beat the TSA airport employee into the ground. He's skinny and awkward, nearly drowning in his uniform, beaten down into a sniveling existence yet somehow retaining his heart of gold and humor. When a stunningly attractive, "hard ten" blonde (Alice Eve) loses her phone in airport security and develops a crush on Kirk despite his disbelief, things get out of hand and dramedy ensues.

I think we've all heard this scenario before, but unlike the unlikely circumstances in Knocked Up, Molly and Kirk have real chemistry, neither burdened with the other's presence (yeah, I get it, that's part of Knocked Up's premise, but bear with me). There's something genuine going on that's fun, not cringe worthy to watch. While Apatow often luxuriates in displaying the awfulness of many of his leads (Kathrine Heigel's character was an stereotypical uptight bitch unable to let go of her career, while Seth Rogan's loser among many of the men in his films, was borderline repulsive), the writers and director of She's Out of My League take the time to build up strong characters that while playing with stereotypes, never become them. Molly is beautiful, but her looks never come off as "Hollywood," concerned about her career but always down to earth and understanding. Kirk is a genuinely grown-up, mature, good guy, just a little lost a result of an entirely unsupportive family.

The "friend" situation is equally awesome. Kirk's friend are a light-hearted, lovely mix of a heavier, happily married sweetheart with a penchant for comparing every romantic situation to a Disney movie, a fast talking, annoying insecure laden friend to the end, and the "hot" one, experienced in among other things, proper grooming habits. Maybe I'm easy to please, but when Molly's hard assed (but again, not disrespectfully so) friend Patty says to Kirk's friend Stainer, (who the filmmakers are setting up as the inevitable friends that hate each other but fall in love) that she "hopes he didn't take her annoyed angry words as a veiled attempt at love because she actually hates him," and he says, "god no," it's totally, refreshingly awesome.

Yes, there is plenty of the sweet cliched stuff that makes a movie a romantic comedy here, but between the genuine, relatable laughs perfectly timed by the darling cast, you won't even notice.

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