March 15, 2010

She's Out of My League

shesoutofmyleague2_largeHere is a movie that exists in a world that could only be fabricated in Hollywood, or at least only imagined in the mind of the below average male. It is a fantasy world where the underdog can beat the spread and end up with the girl of his dreams, while the girl can overlook the disparity in their appearances and fall for the guy beneath the safe veneer. It is an idea as old as time. It is a story device we have seen time and time again. Because of this inbred familiarity with the fantasy, there was no reason to believe that this was going to be any good at all.

Still, I thought the trailers looked like fun. Jay Baruchel certainly has the nerdy underdog look down to a science and Alice Eve is suitably attractive to play his "10" and unlikely romantic interest. So, I went in hoping for a decent time and was left with a smile on my face. The film genuinely works. Granted, it does not aspire to the heights of similar themed Judd Apatow films like The 40-Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up (which also features Baruchel in a supporting role), but it has a certain laid back quality that is unassuming in nature and is easy to sit bac and enjoy. It is admittedly a rather passive experience and never truly engages the mind, but it has its plus side as well. She's Out of My League benefits from decent execution and an engaging cast.


At the center of the story is Kirk (Baruchel), a TSA security guard at the Pittsburgh airport. He works there with his friends, coasting through life while somewhat pining for his ex-girlfriend, Marnie (Lindsey Sloane). He does not seem to have any ambition aside from doing what he needs to do. His dead-end job seems to satisfy him well enough. Then fate steps in and changes his destiny.

Molly (Eve) enters the airport and immediately catches the eye of every heterosexual male within eye-shot. This in and of itself is not that big of a deal, I am sure you have been any number of places when an eye-catchingly attractive person comes through. The game changer here is that as she passes through security she forgets her phone in one of the bins at the metal detecters (I'm sorry, her iPhone. I wonder how much Apple paid for that mention?). Molly and her friend call it and ask Kirk, who is fortunate enough to find it to hang on to it until she returns.

What follows her return is the sort of thing that never happens. Well, maybe sometimes but it has to be once n a very great while. Molly asks Kirk out and the to embark on an unlikely romance that is spiced with standard romantic comedy fare. You get the awkward first meeting with the parents, the comedic friends who do not get along, the crazy ex trying to get back in good graces, all standard elements. Still, I found the movie to be quite endearing.


The performances are all decent. Jay Baruchel plays the geek well and he has good chemistry with Alice Eve. He the nervous guy with self esteem issues and she the attractive woman with the warm gaze. They are surrounded by friends who are waiting to see these two fail. These include her best friend played by Krysten Ritter (who seems to be the new Judy Greer) and his friends Mike Vogel, TJ Miller (who were both in Cloverfield), and Nate Torrance. These along with Kirks family provide most of the big laughs.

Director Jim Field Smith does a good job with his first feature film. He works from a screenplay by Sean Anders and John Morris, the same duo that was behind Sex Drive and the upcoming Hot Tub Time Machine. They have made a film that accurately plays into the underdog fantasy from the somewhat believable meet cute to the unlikely romance and conclusion. It is predictable, but builds up the good will through its solid execution.

Bottomline. This is a pleasant film. It does not always play fair with all of its characters, but it works well enough. The central romance comes off believable in the movie's universe and I was happy to see it. It is a story that fights cinematic cynicism. Is that not a good thing? I was left with a smile on my face and a little hope in my heart. Yes, it is false and short lived, but it is there!


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