16 April 2010
She's Out of My League
I was not expecting much from She's Out of My League, which, from the trailers, looks like an Apatow-lite romantic comedy with an untested leading man surrounded by a bunch of little known faces. What a pleasant surprise this movie is, then, coming from first-time feature director Jim Field Smith and screenwriters Sean Anders and John Morris (who also have credits on the upcoming Hot Tub Time Machine).
Skinny, awkward Jay Baruchel is 20-something Kirk, whose dream is of being a pilot and reality is working in security at Pittsburgh International Airport. He hasn't had much luck with the ladies since being dumped by Marnie (Lindsay Sloane), who won over his family so completely that she still hangs out at his parents' home with her new boyfriend (Hayes MacArthur).
Kirk has a support group--a trio of fellow airport employees (T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel and Nate Torrence)-- that urges him to forget Marnie and move on with his life.
His fortunes change when Molly (Alice Eve), a gorgeous airline passenger, leaves her cell phone behind at his security station. Kirk makes arrangements to return it and, to his utter disbelief, ends up getting a date for his trouble.
As feelings deepen and a relationship appears on the horizon, Kirk's lack of confidence and his friends' insistence that Molly is a "hard 10" on the desirability scale and he is only a five--you can only jump two points, they say--lead to obstacles every potential couple must overcome in a romantic comedy.
Baruchel, who has had success with supporting roles in Tropic Thunder, Knocked Up and Million Dollar Baby, is an engaging presence and far from the typical romantic comedy lead, giving the movie an uncommon perspective. His Kirk is not some hopeless loser but an average guy plagued by insecurities shared by many men, though usually not by the protagonist in a Hollywood movie.
Eve, a relative newcomer from England (you won't hear a trace of an accent, though), carries herself with all of the confidence missing from Baruchel. The movie places her on a pedestal at the start, then works with her to turn Molly into a wholly believable character, the writers giving her real motivation not just for her attraction to Kirk but for her to be the one who seeks him out.
You might easily be fooled into thinking She's Out of My League is just another raunchy, juvenile comedy. It certainly earns its R rating with four-letter words and a shaving scene that would be a good fit for an American Pie movie. But there is an underlying sweetness to the story, and the characters are relatable and endearing.
The movie runs off the tracks with a cartoonish airport chase at its climax but has built up enough goodwill to overcome it. She's Out of My League is a lot more honest about the ways men and women approach relationships than anything in Valentine's Day and funny enough to be the sleeper hit of the spring.
(Rated R for language and sexual content. 104 minutes.)