They Came Together Directed by: David Wain Cast: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Ed Helms, Melanie Lynskey, Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, Cobie Smulders, Chris Meloni Running Time: 1 hr 23 mins Rating: R Release Date: June 27, 2014 (Chicago)
PLOT: Two New Yorkers (Rudd and Poehler) recount the unexpected tale of how they met.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you watch romantic comedies, see this film. If you like Paul Rudd and/or Amy Poehler, this is not a film that can be missed.
The formula of the romantic comedy remains one of the most unchanged in all of Earth's science; the gravity of characters within a film of this type can feel more guaranteed than gravity in real life itself. Thus, there is a grandiose amount of catharsis, and stupidly loud baboon-like laughter, to be experienced with David Wain's They Came Together, a mad man's giddy concoction that is spirited by its bold, underlined and italicized formula as much as its need to completely destroy every convention in said almighty formula's path.
Poelher and Rudd play the smiling couple of whose relationship arc plays out, indeed, just like that of a romantic comedy. In a boring world, the two could present an alternative type of romance as partners in a seriously terrible rom-com. But thankfully we live in this world, one with David Wain, Wet Hot American Summer, and one where Rudd's Over Her Dead Body, The Object of My Affection or even his parts in I Love You, Man and Dinner for Schmucks are a past memory that he can distance himself from. Indeed, this is a world where Poehler and certainly Rudd are able to use their past experience as serious love interests to ground this comedy, while providing multi-dimensional chemistry; characters who fit together, but through highly-aware actors working to create one big joke of a relationship.
The film was created independently, and with a cast that includes Rudd, Poelher, Ed Helms, Michael Ian Black, Chris Meloni, Cobie Smulders, Melanie Lynskey, and more. Wain and co. are a gaggle of crazy people who are blessed by the space given to them regarding the lack of studio control. They Came Together is unique in that the movie makes fun of mainstream comedies with its own special attitude, allowing for freewheeling gags of the most singular variety. Comedy within They Came Together is a consistent, beautiful force within the film that doesn't cease. Even more than extremely funny movies like 22 Jump Street, They Came Together has a bizarrely high ratio of jokes, of both obvious and very obscure taste.
The jokes do not concern just pointing out tropes, as it is highly apt to do, but to go on self-amusing chaotic tangents that can only be described as random and/or polarizing. For me, a joke about repeating a piece of dialogue for a minute straight was both hilarious and impressive, especially for the cojones involved in making that type of joke in a film that only seems like a mainstream goof troop.
With Wain having appeared with the film at the most recent Chicago Critics Film Festival, one consistent aspect during his introduction of the film remained his affinity to romantic comedies that run like serious versions of They Came Together. Like Wet Hot American Summer's take on 80s films of its kind, Wain has made this ruthless spoof out of his own affection for the formula. An intelligent send-up with sinfully silly humor, They Came Together is Wain's own romantic comedy. It is a happy confirmation of the formula's endurance, from its glamorous beginnings to its constant repackaging. Most of all, They Came Together continues the joy to be found from the manipulative formula's obvious balances, showing pretty Hollywood people find unrealistic love - whether they're in on the joke or not.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10