Directed by: Jim Field Smith
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence
Running Time: 1 hr 44 mins
Release Date: March 12, 2010
PLOT: The game of love is thrown a curve when a regular looking “5” named Kirk (Baruchel) is legitimately sought after by a “hard 10” (Eve).
WHO’S IT FOR?: This tale of “beauty and the geek” is primarily for those kinds of people. While the appeal of an attractive female lead and a (funny) supportive bro-cast may bring in some of the guys, do Joe Jock and his Aeropostale-branded broseidons want to see a dating movie about a skinny loser with insecurities? Those who pigeonhole themselves into being a “5” or lower will likely be empowered by the unusual (yet possible … sorta) quest taken on by Jay Baruchel’s character Kirk.
EXPECTATIONS: Can Baruchel (formerly of Fanboys, Knocked Up, etc.) hold a comedy on his own, or will he need the help of a possibly un-funny supporting cast? Are the common insecurities of the hunting single male being actualized, over-exaggerated, or just softened?
Jay Baruchel as Kirk: He’s a young Woody Allen without a college degree – a more honest actualization of Hollywood’s version of the “geek,” and one with definite distance from the hipsters like Cera or Eisenberg who are pushed onto us to be real “squares.” Baruchel doesn’t have the dreamy eyes or endearing fragility that those before him in the Young Neurotics League have been defined by. In this movie, he doesn’t seem to be able to deliver a full sentence without spicing it up with the word “uh” or shaking his hands in the air. His awful jokes, usually quips built out of clumsy sarcasm, are very early Woody-esque. Baruchel squints through every awkward interaction – and there are many – with his pride consistently being the punchline in every uncomfortable situation. An insecure guy who works in airport security (how’s that for “clever” writing), the joke’s always on him, but the personality weight is not. How about a few more references to his interests? His motivations in life are clear (or lack thereof) but it concerns me when I can’t tell whether a guy possibly named after Captain Kirk even likes Star Trek.
Alice Eve as Molly: To quote Radiohead, the All-American blonde Molly “floats like a feather in a beautiful world.” A modern-looking Nicole Kidman, she seems to disrupt the entire universe with her smile, and turns all heterosexual males in the world into howling wolfmen (if only their eyes would pop out, Looney Tunes style). But simply because she can disregard the outside for the sake of the inside, Molly is a bit sweet, not to mention patient, especially when Kirk goes off (on himself) concerning the psychology of the rating system, etc. The film presents her as “perfect,” but focuses more on her hotness than her personality (yes, it’s shallow of me to hold that against her, I know), which makes her a bit suspect. She has so much power over any man on the planet, and explains her attraction to Kirk by saying “I can be me.” I still don’t trust her.
T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel, and Nate Torrence as Kirk’s friends: There are a lot of scenes of bro-banter in the film, with the four guys goofing off at the airport workplace. Though not completely individuals, the three work together to create some big laughs, especially when the improbability of Molly’s attraction is brought into question.
TALKING: Reducing the authenticity of the humor slightly, most jokes are built around the film’s snazzy way to detonate an f-bomb. Though still funny, the laughs benefit greatly from the different intonations and contexts the actors can put the word “f**k” into. She’s Out of My League also has a commendable grasp on what is outdated but not stale in American pop culture, with its hilarious open references to movies like Rush Hour, The Day After Tomorrow, and Aladdin.
SIGHTS: Forget Molly’s wardrobe; Pittsburgh looks absolutely stunning in this movie. Zowee! The obligatory dating montages are enhanced by a handful of shots of Pittsburgh’s skyline or other natural sights that are often captured at the beautiful time of dusk. I had no idea the city looked that great.
SOUNDS: Sequences are complimented with very literal usages of familiar pop songs. “She’s So High Above Me” by Tal Bachman and “Over My Head (Cable Car)” by The Fray are played whenever the film needs to remind us of the drastic relationship that Jay Baruchel is somehow getting into, a choice that is disappointingly lazy and might have an emotional effect on ten-year-olds at the most. “Cold Hard Bitch” by Jet is also heard, and of course, it’s playing during a sequence where a “cold bitch” is getting to be hardest to deal with.
BEST SCENE: The scene with the most laughs involves Kirk’s family, as it has him fighting his hardest to maintain any shred of coolness against a completely embarrassing family. The best dressings of the word “f**k” are on display here also.
ENDING: Though not with the same pride as Valentine’s Day, this movie takes the “airport” cliché to a whole different level, and explains why the lead characters have had such jobs for the entire film. It’s either lazy or winking screenwriting.
QUESTIONS: Though in disbelief that a “5” could snag a “10,” the movie tactfully avoids the destruction of self-confidence one may experience should they lose someone so high on the hotness level. Imagine how someone like Kirk would feel if the two were to break up? Boom – back to (being a) square one, if not contemplating a forfeit from the game. Also, is Kirk really named after Captain Kirk?
REWATCHABILITY: There are enough funny lines and watchable characters to insure that another viewing with some hombres would still have me laughing.
When you’re a supposed “5” and he/she’s above you (even surpassing the two-point spread), there are times when you just have to calm down and accept it. In a couple of instances, Kirk’s insecurities can be too frustrating, with his insistence on contemplating the “illogic” of Molly’s attraction to him overtaking the possibility to just … have some fun. But perhaps there is a reason for Kirk’s uncertainty of the relationship – the chemistry isn’t that solid. The pairing is believable, but the film doesn’t support their relationship with the important elements (congruous personalities, again) so much as they are shown to be visual polar opposites. Do Kirk and Molly have anything in common besides hockey and attraction to one another? Oh, wait – the second letters in their names are vowels. Got it.
Still, even if She’s Out of My League is a dating movie with little chemistry, it’s a surprising film bound to have a pleasing short-term relationship with its audience. The dysfunctional family and wacky bros make for a funny back up cast, who literally support Baruchel whenever he lacks the confidence to earn his modern (“romantic”) comedy wings.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10