© 2010 Ray Wong
Set Pittsburgh, PA, She's Out of My League is a gross-out romantic comedy that follows a familiar story arc of Knocked Up, or 40-Year-Old Virgin that I'm surprised Judd Apatow wasn't involved with this.
Kirk (Jay Baruchel) is an average, plain dude working for the TSA at the Pittsburgh International Airport. He's been trying to get back with his bitch of a girlfriend Marnie (Lindsay Sloane) for two years, even though his best friends Stainer (T.J. Miller), Jack (Mike Vogel) and Devon (Nate Torrence) despise her. Then comes along Molly (Alice Eve), a gorgeous blonde who hooks up with Kirk by chance. Kirk doesn't have any expectations, since Molly is obviously out of his league, but somehow, Molly is into him.
It turns out Molly has been dating pretty much the same handsome douche-bags and she wants someone different: someone safe. For various reasons, Molly feels at ease with Kirk, who makes her laugh and feel safe. Kirk, however, feels insanely inadequate around her -- Stainer convinces him that he's a 5 going out with a "hard 10" and there's no future for Molly and Kirk. But against all odds, Molly's falling for Kirk for real.
However, Kirk's family and his own insecurity are getting in his way. When Marnie finds out about Molly, she wants Kirk back. Meanwhile, Molly's fighter-pilot ex-boyfriend Cam (Geoff Stults) makes Kirk feel even worse about himself. Just when things are going strong, Kirk chickens out and bails on Molly, believing he will never be good enough for her.
Jay Baruhel (Knocked Up) is giving Michael Cera serious competition for playing the same kind of good-natured, average, awkward guys that beautiful girls seem to fall for. Call it Hollywood fantasy or wishful thinking or whatever, and thanks to filmmakers such as Apatow, that seems to be a new wave of revenge of the nerds, and they are getting the girls! Jay is the newest romantic hero who has graduated from being goofy, nerdy sidekicks. Baruchel is perfectly cast and he delivers.
Alice Eve (Crossing Over) is pretty and sexy (although not exactly out-there gorgeous). Most important, she seems genuine and sweet. Almost too perfect. Kirk's trio of best friends are played by T.J. Miller (Extract) as jokester Stainer, Mike Vogel (Blue Valentine) as pretty-boy Jack, and Nate Torrence (Get Smart) as married-man Devon. They fill the sidekick roles rather nicely, although I do feel Vogel is kind of miscast here -- he seems more like the guy Molly would be dating than one of Kirk's best friends.
Lindsay Sloane (The Accidental Husband) is a hoot as Kirk's ex. Kyle Bornheimer (Dynamite Swine) is nicely dim as Kirk's older brother, and Krysten Ritter (Glock) fills the role of Molly's bitchy girl pal perfectly.
Written by Sean Anders (Sex Drive) and John Morris (Sex Drive), the screenplay follows the familiar structure of gross-out sex comedies. The writers have a lot of experience with the genre and they deliver what we expect: crude potty humor, obscenity, uncomfortable situations, and bad behaviors. At the core, they also include good-natured characters for whom we could root -- and that's very important for the genre. Some of the jokes seem recycled and forced, however, and parts of the story feel irrelevant and drag on for too long. Not to mention the circumstances between Molly and Kirk are rather far-fetched. Anders and Morris do their best making the case for the two lovers, but the gap between them does seem rather outrageous to be believable.
Fortunately, the actors are good enough to make us care and suspend our disbelief. Baruchel and Eve have enough chemistry to make us, at least for a moment, think "yeah, it could happen." Much of it has to do with wishful thinking (more for the guys than the girls, I'm sure). I wonder if Anders and Morris are projecting their own fantasies -- their movies seem to have similar themes: average guys getting the hot girl.
Jim Field Smith (Where Have I Been All Your Life?) is dutiful in directing the film, hitting all the marks. He's no Judd Apatow, and sometimes there are two many talking heads. The editing is choppy at times. There's also nothing special about the production -- we've seen that show before. He's done everything right in that he's copied Judd Apatow's style perfectly. Kudos to Smith, however: the film does make my hometown look beautiful, almost exciting.
She's Out Of My League is definitely a comedy for the guys. It's wish-fulfillment, and the potty humor would please the 14-year-old boys within us. The by-the-book comedy delivers what's expected. It's certainly not out of our league if we'd simply lower our expectations.
Stars: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence, Lindsay Sloane, Kyle Bornheimer, Jessica St. Clair, Krysten Ritter
Director: Jim Field Smith
Writers: Sean Anders, John Morris
MPAA Rating: R for language and sexual content
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Script – 6
Performance – 7
Direction – 6
Cinematography – 7
Editing – 7
Production – 7
Total – 6.8 out of 10