The phrase "only in the movies" can apply itself to many things when it comes to cinema. It can relate to mind-blowing action sequences that would equal certain death if attempted in real life. It can mean transportation to fantastical realms where vampires, young magicians, hobbits and the like are considered normal. It can also be used for films such as She's Out of My League.
She's Out of My League takes the "only in the movies" standby of matching up a hot girl plus a not-so-hot guy and putting their worlds together to watch the comedic fireworks. Can regular guys really get the amazingly beautiful, incredibly successful woman in the non-film universe? It's possible; although odds are stacked against it.
Kirk (Jay Baruchel) is a nice guy. He works for TSA at the Pittsburgh airport. He hangs out with a trio of buddies he's known since grade school, who also work at the airport. He's pining for an ex-girlfriend he is clearly better than. His life is safe, safe, safe, until he meets an attractive woman named Molly (Alice Eve) as she's going through his checkpoint one day.
There is good looking and there is gorgeous. How does Molly stack up? Gorgeous. When we first see her in She's Out of My League, time literally slows down. Molly moves in slow motion. Her hair is blown around her face as if she's at a photo shoot and a photographer's assistant is directing a powerful fan on her to get that wind tousled look that fashion models often employ. Molly happens to be going through security at an airport when these things happen, so points should be added to her hotness just for that.
Kirk is clearly out of his depths with Molly. He's underachieving, ultra-skinny and a bit of a goofball; she's a highly paid event planner, went to law school and is used to dating chiseled aviators. Both of them are very sweet and are nice people, that's their main connection. Did I forget to mention one of them is very, very attractive? Sounds like a perfect match to me.
Kirk spends a lot of time seeking counsel from his buddies at the airport -- also a group of "only in the movies" in the friends department.
There's more than one category for "only in the movies." There is the handsome but dumb friend, the quirky oddball friend and the aggressively crude friend who dispenses a lot of bad advice to Kirk in how to handle Molly. These "friend" types show up in twos and threes in comedies when one-liners are needed or the male protagonist needs to appear a certain way.
She's Out of My League is an unfunny mess of pure drivel written by Sean Anders/John Morris and directed by Jim Field Smith. It's a harmless, mindless confection from start to finish. It will disappear from memory in about 13 minutes as you make your way to the multiplex parking lot and head home. Something so forgettable is hard to work up a lot of emotion toward it, positive or negative.
Existing in the Apatow-wannabe terrain (Baruchel has been in a couple of Apatow vehicles such as Undeclared and Knocked Up), the film plays like a sub-par TV sitcom with a lot of "F" words. Scrub away the naughty bits, add a cheesy canned laugh track and She's Out of My League has future canceled show on NBC written all over it.
Baruchel and Eve have absolutely no chemistry together on-screen. They are virtually sexless and when they do kiss, I'm not sure who seems more uncomfortable: Baruchel, Eve or the audience. Huge chunks of their relationship is shown without dialogue and aided by the addition of loud, middle of the road, bland, nondescript pop music -- never a good sign of quality.
While Baruchel has a nerdy adorability, I never got a sense he was charming enough to woo Molly long-term. There has to be at least a tiny smidgeon of believability when it comes to this formula, and I doubted their pairing the entire movie.
The most entertaining scenes in the movie are when the story branches out from Kirk and Molly. Kirk's family is a collective of profanity-spewing nuts. His ex and her new beau hang out at his house all the time, swimming in the pool, eating dinner and planning group trips to Branson to watch Dave Coulier perform. The pained, cringe-worthy awkward moments Kirk experiences around his family are the best thing in the film. Unfortunately, we go right back to the couple after these family interludes.
She's Out of My League is a pedestrian comedy that feels suited more for television than for movie theatres. Its premise of average guy getting the beautiful woman could have only been concocted by a man. There should be a new category for films such as these: only in the dreams of male screenwriters.
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