Title: She’s Out Of My League
Directed By: Jim Field Smith
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, TJ Miller, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence, Lindsay Sloane, Krysten Ritter
Is it wrong to judge something with the purpose of demolishing critical assumptions? Oh well; there’s no choice in this matter. If the She’s Out of My League market campaign calls Jay Barchuel a five, we’ll start there. Subtract a point for unoriginal wisecracks, but return a half a point for hilarious recoveries. The film earns another point thanks to the chemistry between the cast members and an additional half for a mild yet appropriate lasting effect. According to the moral of this story that grand total is meaningless, but we’re talking about the movie industry here. There’s no escaping being branded with a rating and in this case, that rating’s a six.
She’s Out of My League is a standard young adult romantic comedy. Think She’s All That, but the girl being the one to date someone higher up on the hotness scale and minus the whole turn-the-loser-into-prom-queen-thing. Nearly every plot progression is predictable and every character just a standard piece of the puzzle. Kirk (Baruchel) is the quintessential unattractive geek. He’s an average guy, literally; he’s a five. He works at airport security, has no ambitions, is a little on the nerdy side and was recently dumped by his girlfriend Marnie (Lindsay Sloane). He’s distraught over the loss, but his buddies see his new ex-status as a blessing. But, of course, Kirk will never be able to see the bright side of the situation. Well, not until something better falls into his lap. Thanks to a security mishap, Kirk is the lucky man to return a lost cell phone to a young woman named Molly (Alice Eve). But this is no typical young woman. As Stainer (TJ Miller) poetically puts it, ‘she’s a hard ten.’
Eve is a beautiful actress, but director Jim Field Smith gets a little carried away and rather than try to pass her off as a ten, attempts to make her a goddess. But, of course, Kirk and his buddies fall for it. When this ‘hard ten’ shows interest in Kirk, who’s merely a five, the universe falls into disarray. Okay, not exactly, but between Kirk’s friends telling him it simply can’t work because of her prowess and Alice’s best friend Patty (Krysten Ritter) accusing her of choosing Kirk as a safety precaution, both second guess themselves and struggle to find logic in the situation.
No romcom lead is complete without his or her most essential accessory, the obnoxious friend. Eve has Ritter who is plagued by lame dialogue that’s further worsened through her attempt to force it to be funny. Kirk is lucky and unlucky enough to have not one, but three bumbling sidekicks. There’s the master of the rating system, Stain, the unrealistically optimistic Devon (Nate Torrence) and the one who can boast a little game with the ladies, Jack (Mike Vogel). Similar to Ritter, these three have a slew of tacky lines to deliver.
On the other hand, She’s Out of My League manages to benefit from the characters’ and actors’ likability. Even with mouths full of drab, everyone pays their dues and surprisingly earns your compassion. Baruchel and Eve have an unusual yet believable chemistry. Baruchel is a natural in the role and other than some accent slips (Eve hails from London), Eve makes for an appealing lead. As for the friends, they steer clear of the black hole of predictable-pals thanks to a handful of downright hilarious gags. You’ve got to wait for them, but they’re there. Ritter’s plane doctor joke? It doesn’t work in the trailer, but look forward to an absolutely hilarious follow up. Torrence has a running Disney joke that’s particularly memorable. Miller has the most jokes that fall flat, but that’s only because he’s the most prominent sidekick. However, he’s also the sole supporting character to establish a true poignant connection with Kirk. The only secondary character to make an emotional impact is Miller. He’s the brutally honest guy with good intentions and it works.
Even with being an amalgamation of hits and misses, She’s Out of My League manages to do the one thing most romcoms don’t; make you think after it’s over. Don’t expect to be contemplating Kirk’s complex psyche or, for that matter, anything on the deep side, rather, revel in the film’s simple yet profound message. The concept that anyone can be a ten if they think they’re a ten sounds cheesy, but what person doesn’t appreciate a little confidence boost?
By Perri Nemiroff