Jay Baruchel continues his winning streak in likeable underdog roles in the appealing buddy comedy/date movie treat SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE, opening in theaters Friday. Hitting many of the same formulaic notes in the rough-edged guy flicks like THE HANGOVER, but playing them better and funnier, director Jim Field Smith lands a smart, outrageous, enjoyable film which exceeds the laugh-earning clips in its trailer.
Kirk (Baruchel), a twentyish underachiever who grounded his dreams of being a pilot to become a low-level security officer at a Pittsburgh airport, meets Molly (Alice Eve) after leaving her phone at the x-ray station. When the driven event planner casts her beguiling smile and soft eyes in Kirk’s direction, she offers hope for the hopeless romantic who remains stuck on his ex-girlfriend Marnie (Lindsay Sloane). She not only dumped Kirk, she’s nearly been adopted by Kirk’s family and demoted him in the process. So much of life has rejected Kirk, he’s joined the trend to his own detriment.
Eve invests heart and smarts into Molly, the “hard 10” woman deemed too hot for any average “five” like Kirk. Yet she counters his bumbling insecurity with romantic scars of her own camouflaged beneath a gorgeous exterior. Her bold, fearless pursuit of a genuinely nice guy both thrills Kirk and continually kicks him out of his comfort zone. It’s a clever twist on the formula since male audiences can relate to this date movie scenario: romantic comedy as self-depricating torture and sexual frustration. Ain’t love effin’ grand?!
As Molly continues showing Kirk attention, his buddies Stainer (T.J. Miller), Devon (Nate Torrence) and Jack (Mike Vogel) feed into their pal’s shaky self-esteem, insisting that Molly is far too hot for him. Such a dating imbalance is not only doomed to fail, but it upsets the cosmic balance of nature itself. Molly’s friend Patty (gothically alluring Krysten Ritter) agrees wholeheartedly, even offering to dial up an escape call to free Molly from her date with Kirk. Of course the unlikely match hit it off to their mutual delight, and Molly refuses Patty’s bail out.
Kirk and Molly’s quirky romance takes off in spite of their friends’ well-intended sabotage, and some painfully awkward (and hilarious) moments ensue. A passionate petting session really puts Kirk on the spot when her parents barge in for a howling good laugh. This scene isn’t even the topper in a laugh-packed script by Sean Anders and John Morris that ranges from sweet and sentimental to comically outrageous extremes. Example: Jack illustrating the tonsorial stylings of his pubic region as date prep for Kirk would be a sufficient gag for lesser man-comedies, but Kirk’s attempt to duplicate the effect with Devon’s help not only tops the basic joke but pays off again later unexpectedly.
SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE isn’t the deepest film to be sure, nor is that its target destination. But it blends raunchy guy humor with date movie appeal then turns romantic comedy on its post-modern ear. The supporting cast works well as an ensemble, but the pairing of Baruchel and Eve yields charm, sizzle and genuine belly laughs. The pair make an unlikely couple audiences will root for at the end, and likewise for this film which charts its own clever course through an overcrowded genre. FilmEdge gives it a hard 4 out of 5, enjoy it this weekend.