To begin, let me explain that She’s Out of My League (wide release) is a teen comedy of the typical variety; this post will contain spoilers.
That being said, I thought this movie did a great job of telling it’s story without falling victim to the temptation to make the movie stupid like so many in this genre end up doing. Let me first introduce the story to you. She’s Out of My League introduces us to a character named Kirk and his friends Stainer, Devon and Jack who all work at the local airport in Pittsburgh, PA. Kirk and Stainer are both TSA agents while Devon works as a ticket salesman for an airline and Jack is a baggage loader. We find out that Kirk wants to get back together with his ex Marnie. Through a series of events Kirk learns that Marnie doesn’t want to get back together with him. During this time we are introduce to Kirk’s father, mother, brother, sister-in-law and Marnie’s new Boyfriend who more or less all live with Kirk’s parents. Enter Molly, a beautiful blonde who comes into the Pittsburgh airport on her way to New York. Kirk comes to Molly’s rescue when he helps fend off his superior who is trying to hit on Molly and later Kirk finds Molly’s phone, which she left at the security check point. Through these series of events Molly falls for Kirk and they begin to see each other. Eventually they have a falling out over Kirk’s inability to believe someone like Molly would want to be with him and he retreats back and wins back Marnie. By movie’s end though Molly and Kirk are back together to live happily ever after. Throughout the movie Kirk experiences a number of falls such as, prematurely ejaculating during his and Molly’s first intimate moment and then quickly running out of her apartment after a few embarassing moments with Molly’s parents and sister. Later on Kirk finds himself with his foot in his mouth as he rips Molly a part for her choice to be with him and not someone more worthy of her.
While this movie is on the whole a light hearted, at times intelligent romantic comedy it has a few key moments of coming close to destroying itself like so many other comedies have done in recent years. A lot of comedies these days have a need to introduce a character who is on a roid rage trying to destroy the lead male who is pursuing the beautiful woman. Yet this movie restrains itself, there is an over bearing ex boy friend who one may believe will end up being that psycho who attacks Kirk but She’s Out of My League introduces the ex boyfriend (Cam played by Geoff Stults), plays around with Kirk and then simply has Cam gracefully step out. Even a great comedy such as Wedding Crashers was unable to stop itself from stepping over the line on this particular point. Most comedies this day would rather have an antagonist who is so over the top it makes it impossible to believe anyone would be like that. Most writers of comedy seem to forget that an antagonist isn’t necessarily needed in this genre because the story moves itself along through the foibles of the would be hero.
The closest this movie comes to being unbearably stupid happens on the final fall of our hero. While becoming intimate with each other our beautiful girl (Molly played by Alice Eve) and our hero Kirk get into a “defect” showing contest trying to prove who is less than perfect. With Mollys defect (webbed feet) we could find ourselves in a terribly cliche moment such as in Whatever It Takes (2000) where the object of the hero’s affections has to shave a mustache. Yet once again, She’s Out of My League turns this episode into a half way intelligent argument about the ability of two people of opposite ends of the attraction scale to be in a relationship. Ultimately they come to the conclusion that they can’t be together, not because either is necessarily so much better than the other, but because Kirk suffers from a severe inferiority complex. Let’s face it, a woman as beautiful as Molly, or for that matter any comedic beautiful girl, would never date someone like Kirk.
But this movie is the quintessential comedy where the ugly, wimpy, terribly flawed guy goes through humorous adventures only to find himself slaying the proverbially dragon and rescuing the beautiful princess.While some may say that these types of comedies are boring, and often unintelligent, it is by far the most refreshing thing I have seen in comedy for a long time. More often than not this incident would be made into a farse while ignoring the intelligent angles that could be pursued. While the purpose of the comedy is to make light of the troubles of the hero, too often today comedies attempt to diminish not only the hero but the object of his affection. What comes out is a comedy not worth the movie it was made with. For better or worse, this movie stays on the straight path instead of finding itself out in the middle of the woods.
Possibly the only down side of this entire movie is the family who is so over the top that they could have easily ruined the movie had they been on screen any more than they were. Thankfully Kirk’s disfunctional family, his ex girlfriend and her new boyfriend are only shown to the audience enough to demonstrate that Kirk’s foibles may be something he learned, rather than something a part of his nature. His family’s role in the movie is just right, to show the audience what it is Kirk is attempting to fight off and run away from into the arms of Molly.
Finally we have the friends. I’m sure we all can remember the movie Wedding Crashers that starts out actually quite good but by the end of the movie you are begging not to see Will Farrell enter on screen as the original crasher. Wedding Crashers isn’t the only movie that introduces additional characters who play the part as assistants to the hero and end up making them farsical. The three friends in She’s Out of My League are smart, insightful, and funny while at the same time being properly inferior to the hero of the movie. While they have their moments where one might expect some kind of cheesy outcome, they stay true to their characters and the movie without going overboard. The friends are an important part of any comedy as the hero is too flawed in the beginning to achieve his goal. Should a comedy employ friends that are themselves unable to really provide the hero with any guidence then the genre falls a part.
In all She’s Out of My League is a cookie cutter comedy, that has moments of becoming cheesy but never falls off the edge into campy, or farsical. The movie does what all comedies try and do, teach a lesson about something in a humourous way while attempting not to show itself as a lesson. In this movie, the lesson is simple: anyone can have anyone they want as long as they believe in themselves. This movie won’t be nominated for any major award and it’ll continue to be destroyed by critics but there is something about this movie that makes it hard to resist. The chemistry between Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve makes it almost seem believable that either of them might end up with the other. She’s Out of My League is a remarkable movie worth while to anyone looking for a light hearted and at times smart comedy.