The Romantic comedy, much like a successful relationship, is tricky business. Post-There’s Something About Mary, it’s been found that mixing some harder R-rated gags with a sweet center can get both men and women interested in a film, and Judd Apatow’s first two movies worked perfectly at balancing this, but also changing one’s expectations of how the love and the sex were going to play out. She’s out of My League is definitely from the Judd Apatow sensibility in that it’s got a group of guys who are friends with the schlubby lead (Jay Baruchel) and they gawk at his strange relationship with a total hottie (Alice Eve). My review of the Blu-ray of She’s out of My League after the jump.
Baruchel plays Kirk, a dude who is such a loser that he goes back to his ex to brag about how much sex he’s been having (though he isn’t), only to find out that she’s become close with his parents, and his family would rather hang out with her than him. He works as security at the Pittsburg airport, and that’s how he meets Molly (Eve) a very successful party planner. She leaves her phone at the airport (and after their “meet cute”), and when he returns it, he surprisingly attracts her some. They go out again, only this time Kirk doesn’t know it’s a date until it’s almost over.
Molly’s got a best friend in the bitchy Patty (Krysten Ritter, best known for being awesome on Breaking Bad), while Kirk has a support group of guy friends. There’s the fat married one, Devon (Nate Torrance), the handsome one, Jack (Mike Vogel), and the loud “funny” asshole one, Stainer (T.J. Miller). They are somewhat disastrous in giving advice, as Stainer loudly proclaims his theory of dating numbers, in terms of attraction. Molly is obviously a ten, and Kirk is way out of her class as a five. Molly is also being pursued by Cam (Geoff Stults) a good looking pilot who is everything that Kirk is not. Though there relationship progresses, Kirk is stuck feeling inadequate and unsure why Molly is even dating him.
The one saving grace of this painfully overcooked comedy is that Jay Baruchel plays decency as strongly as one could ever hope for from this character. He is meant to be something of a wimp, but he manages to project goodness and affability in such a way that Alice Eve has something to play off of, and make their relationship at least halfway believable. The problem is that the film sets up the disparity between the two to such a degree that it’s hard to believe in their relationship, especially since they have little to nothing in common, and the film makes a point of showing that Kirk may have dreams, but that he’s done dick-all to pursue them. This is a fatal error – giving him at least something like a dream would make their relationship, and give her something to latch on to. And though the film sets up the ranking systems and all that, it’s hard not to see some truth in that – more in the sense that being a nice guy is only going to get you so many dates if the woman is constantly paying for everything, and you have few prospects and all that.
The film makes you all too sentient of how much a fantasy this is. But then also it saddles Baruchel with an obnoxious family and ex-girlfriend, and the family has a number of scenes early on that just reek of discomfort – it’s simply bad filmmaking. It takes a certain balance to make such a family interesting while still being disgusting and the filmmakers here didn’t find it, instead settling for jokes so broad that it makes you have even more distaste for the Kirk character.
The other interesting thing about this movie is that it’s a romantic comedy for boys. Though Jay Baruchel isn’t exactly ugly, it’s all about a loser dude hooking up with a hottie. Molly is nice enough, but where Katherine Heigl is unquestionably hot, she’s maternal enough to never come across as a supermodel. Here Eve is so hot and so sensible that – though you can see the initial attraction – it never plays as anything more than a fantasy figure. The gross outs are also slightly derivative (there’s a dog who likes to lick semen, which was the punch line to Todd Solonz’s Happiness), or go nowhere (a dude shaves another dude’s balls). Another problem is that it wants to delay the point where the main characters have sex to a weird degree, as it doesn’t want to have the characters have sex before they’re in love – they go on enough dates that it seems awkward they wouldn’t have had sex by the time that becomes a big scene. Theatrically, it was a misfire. Audiences didn’t miss much.
Paramount’s Blu-ray presents the film in widescreen (2.35:1) and in DTS-HD 5.1. As a rom-com set in Pittsburg, it can only look and sound so good. The film comes with a commentary by director Jim Field Smith. There’s a stinger after the film is over (2 min.) where it shows audience members who were ranked, and then “Devon’s Dating Show!” which puts Nate Torrance with co-star Kyle Bornheimer (7 min.) making jokes about dating. It’s not funny. There are also five deleted scenes (4 min.) with optional director commentary and a blooper reel (6 min.).