Monday, April 5, 2010

Review - She's Out of My League

An average looking airport security agent named Kirk can't believe when after helping a gorgeous woman at airport, she asks him out on a date. The mismatched couple begin dating, but Kirk's lack of confidence and negative input from family & friends begins to pick away at his belief that their relationship will ever work. Can he keep the perfect girl or is he destined to settle for a girl more in his league as family & friends have deemed?

Romantic comedies release every year in abundance. We as movie goers see a new one releasing nearly every month. This year alone we've seen When in Rome, Valentine's Day and The Bounty Hunter and now "She's Out of My League" all release to moderate success. Generally speaking, I am not a fan of the rom-com. They are ultimately too formulaic and never do anything more than generate a few forgettable laughs. Once in a while a ingenious and memorable one comes along, unfortunately "She's Out of My League" is not that movie.

The script penned by Sean Anders and John Morris (Sex Drive & Hot Tub Time Machine) is clever. It does a decent job giving the viewer a different spin on the all too the general rom-com formula. The duo also delivered some likable characters that are fun (for the most part) to watch on screen. Where the comedy takes a dip is in the fact we've seen this all before. Much like Knocked Up (sans a baby), the lovable loser title character is thrown into a relationship with a girl that no one believes he should be with. Where Knocked Up used a baby to keep the couple together, 'League' uses the fact that the girl is tired of abusive relationships, so she in turn settles for the loser.

I should talk for a minute (or two) about the characters penned and the actors that filled those roles. The cast of "She's Out of My League" is pretty good. Jay Baruchel, T.J. Miller, Nate Torrence and Lindsay Sloane all do their best at making the penned characters entertaining. Nate Torrence deserves the most credit for delivering a refreshing portrayal of a innocent friend. Torrence's character Devon, is essentially Mr. Rogers. His dialogue and persona steal nearly every scene he is in. Jay Baruchel does a solid job of carrying the rom-com. Surprisingly I found his whiny demeanor fresh all the way through, something Seth Rogen wasn't able to do in my earlier comparison with Knocked Up. While I like T.J. Miller (Cloverfield) as Stainer, his performance and schtick gets tedious about halfway through. That said, his work and dialogue in the final 30 minutes of the comedy redeems most of the annoying tendencies displayed early on.

"She's Out of My League" plays up a number scale between men and woman. Kirk's best friend Stainer, is extremely stuck on rating people, which leads to a lot of Kirk's hang ups. This rating scale becomes a huge plot point throughout the film, one that did more to annoy me than make me giggle. More times than not, when Stainer begins his hot-aired rants about, "She's a 10 and you're a 5," I would just get bored. It's not like this scale is used minimally either, its used with a very heavy hand and becomes grating by the end. Another minor gripe to this scale, it only works if  you believe that Molly (Alice Eve) is a 10. While Alice Eve is attractive and she does an okay job in her performance, she's no 10. More like an 8. See now even I have fallen into this stupid rating scale, ugh.

Moving on, director Jim Field Smith does a good job with the buddy and family angle to the film, but the actual relationship between Kirk and Molly fails on a couple of levels. Number one, the best part about Kirk and Molly relationship in the film is the supporting characters around them. Molly's best friend Marnie or her parents end up saving every scene between Kirk and Molly. The same can be said for Kirk's friends and family. Number two, all of the plot development between Kirk and Molly succumb to typical romantic pitfalls. They are boring by themselves. So the scenes exclusively between Kirk and Molly are dull, while the dynamics to the group sequences remained comical and entertaining.

At the end of the day, I enjoyed "She's Out of My League." It's nothing new, its very formulaic, but there are some good laughs and enough well penned and performed characters to keep you engaged. It suffers from all the usual rom-com stereotypes, but it houses enough enjoyable moments to outweigh most the negative. Jay Baruchel did his best to make me a believer that he can be a leading man and supporting actors T.J. Miller and Nate Torrence illustrate why they need more roles.