She’s Out of My League
Directed by Jim Field Smith
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, Lindsay Sloane
Jay Baruchel’s Hollywood career has been a strange one. Over the last 10 years that squinty face of his has been quickly in and out of some of the better films of the decade, always in obscure supporting roles. The quirky characters he occupies nonetheless stand out and shine to be as memorable as they are brief. Most will remember him from Judd Apatow’s hilarious film Knocked Up, as one of Seth Rogen’s ridiculous housemates who bursts-in on a fully-dilated Katherine Heigl. But many might also remember him in Clint Eastwood’s Best Picture winner Million Dollar Baby as Danger Barch, the skinny, dim-witted southerner who often felt obliged to call out his claim to be the “Welter-Weight Champion of the World”. A few more ardent cinema lovers might remember him in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, as the young obsessive Led Zeppelin fan ‘Vic’. Finally it seems, he has been cast in a lead role for She’s Out of My League.
Playing off his characteristic geeky image, Baruchel is cast as hopeless and idiotic airport security worker Kirk Kettner, who accepts his basic lot in life and rolls with it. Late 20’s and still living at home, the film begins with him practicing begging his ex-girlfriend (a typical Lindsay Sloane) to take him back. His friends try to dissuade him by explaining that she is a horrible bitch but he shrugs it off and asks how he would get any better? After a few very amusing and awkward scenes where he is embarrassed by his ex, her new boyfriend, as well as the rest of his family (who all seem to live together for some reason), he has a chance meeting with the stunningly beautiful Molly (a vivacious Alice Eve). Molly is a successful event planner whose looks somehow slow time and lowers the jaw of every man who catches a glimpse of her walking into a room. Kirk thinks nothing of this unattainable beauty until a few chance events reluctantly force him to believe the impossible and go after the girl.
Sound familiar? Well it should because even if you yourself can’t relate to this sort of loser-comes-good, miracle story, this formula has been recycled in celluloid so many times it could be its own genre. A few recent ones included Knocked-Up, Superbad, and The 40 Year Old Virgin, but we can probably blame Adam Sander’s 90’s run of films for popularising the image of the dumb-ass always earning his way to the unattainable girl. But She’s Out of My League makes no apologies for this and could be seen as a loud definitive statement about similar films, only in more simple and extreme terms. Its title alone is enough to suggest its primary concern and there is enough blunt and excessive divisions between the couple to make you pay attention to the realism. Early on, Kirk’s friends inform him that Molly is a “hard 10” while he is a “mere 5” and certain other comments from both parties make the unequal dating gap even wider.
Unfortunately the film doesn’t quite invite the viewer to know anything about the characters beyond the superficial because the focus is just as much on the hilarious supporting characters. Roles that are usually filled by the usual comedy suspects (Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill) who would often play the friends and antagonists to the troubled protagonist, thankfully sit this one out and are replaced by some fresh faces. Nate Torrence plays the token married guy, who very amusingly speaks using Disney quotes and offers quite unhelpful advice other than helping Kirk with some pubic grooming. T.J. Miller is the straight-shooting, loud and obnoxious ‘Stainer’, who does most of the groundwork for helping Kirk get the girl and Mike Vogel plays the pretty-boy alpha-geek typecast that has become common in Hollywood’s male groupings. The usual ‘quirky best friend of the female lead character’ is played by a bitchy-as-hell Krysten Ritter and helps take the edge off the excessive amount of boy-talk.
While the population of supporting roles do make this film a colourful experience, what it lacks is a something to really pull it out from the crowd of fashionable comedies that have become all too generic. Having said that, there are a few too many laughs and great cringe-worthy moments to not at least recommend it at least a little bit; it is very funny and novice director Jim Field Smith’s intentions are good. It doesn’t really require the cinema experience and it’s likely that this film will make an obscene amount of money anyway so if funds are tight; definitely save it for the two-dollar rental night.
You will love this if: You find the same thing just as funny the first viewing as on the fifth viewing.
You will hate this if: You’re over Judd Apatow-style comedies and the way his characters and formulas have spawned in different places and spread across Hollywood like a plague of irreverence and slapstick sex shock tactics that don’t really make the world a better place!
She’s Out of My League will be widely released April 1st.