There's unfunny, and then there's painfully unfunny, and the new R-rated romantic comedy She's Out of My League falls somewhere between the two. A derivative of Knocked Up, about an awkward young man who finds himself with a much hotter girlfriend, the movie is two hours worth of forced dialogue and flat jokes. Stay away. Stay very far away.
Jay Baruchel, who has made a small but distinguished career as an awkward sidekick, gets his first of many 2010 chances at leading man material (the other two being How to Train Your Dragon and The Sorcerer's Apprentice, neither of which look very good) here, and boy is it a bust. In She's Out of My League, Baruchel plays Kirk, a TSA security agent who by chance meets Molly (Alice Eve), a smoking blonde who, after many scorned relationships, takes a liking to him. Dumbfounded that a girl of her stature could 1) fall for him and 2) remain with him, Kirk struggles to accept that they may be right for each other. Typical romantic comedy antics ensue.
She's Out of My League is a bastard child of the Judd Apatow movies of the last few years, such as Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It has a simple plot and what the writers must have believed was edgy dialogue, as the screenplay is littered with R-rated words and not-so-family-friendly (and not-so-funny) American Pie situations, including scenes featuring premature ejaculation and pubic hair shavings.
The movie is a bad omen for next week's Hot Tub Time Machine, which is written by the same two writers, Sean Anders and John Morris. Between She's Out of My League and 2008's Sex Drive, it is clear these guys don't know how to write sex comedies: both films have lacked interesting characters, believable chemistry or clever jokes.
She's Out of My League is an unfortunate amalgam of better movies that have come before it. Every scene harkens back to another movie that was funnier and edgier, resulting in a lot of poorly done scenes with jokes that almost always fall flat. The movie is at times painfully bad, and when it isn't it's painfully flat.
The actors do little to elevate the material. Baruchel, who has proven himself a worthy comedian in other material such as Knocked Up and the short-lived "Undeclared," is - how shall we say it - way out of his league. His awkward shtick only goes so far, and that's not enough to sustain a feature-length film. Eve looks great, which is half the battle, but she does little to elevate the material. Her British accent seeps through much more than she intended, too. The biggest problem with the two leads is that they have little to no chemistry together, though the screenplay is partly to blame. Unlike in Knocked Up, the mismatched pair is poorly developed; their progression as a couple is glossed over, which makes it hard to relate when the two get into an inevitable fight (and boy, is the fight forced).
The supporting cast doesn't help. T.J. Miller, who was the unheralded and often unseen hero of Cloverfield, may have killed his career with this movie. As Stainer, the lovable but obnoxious best friend, he delivers one of the worst performances I've seen in recent memory; strangely, halfway through the movie, he switches to a caricature of Napoleon Dynamite.
The only saving grace is chubby Nate Torrence, who delivers a cheerfully innocent performance that evokes many of the film's few laughs.
Oh, by the way, almost all of the best jokes are shown in the previews.
She's Out of My League is an unfunny, poorly written and poorly acted comedy that fails miserably at every turn.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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