There's not a whole lot to say about She's Out Of My League, which is another one of those raunchy sex comedies about a skinny, nerdy guy trying to woo a beautiful, smart girl who's just a few notches above his social standards. We've this movie before and we'll probably see it again (the year is young). But when you look beyond its formulaic setup and predictable trajectory, the movie turns out to be sweet, gentle and often funny.
She's Out of My League
By Matthew Huntley
March 16, 2010
As in most movies of this nature, She's Out Of My League follows four close-knit guy friends who work together and spend most of their time talking about sex and women. Kirk (Jay Baruchel) is the likable loser of the group who's trying to win back his ex-girlfriend, Marnie (Lindsay Sloane). He opens the movie practicing his "take me back" speech to his pals Stainer (T.J. Miller), Devon (Nate Torrence) and Jack (Mike Vogel), but they try to talk him out of it, and with good reason - Marnie rejects him.
Lucky for Kirk, he has meet-cute with a buxom blonde named Molly (Alice Eve). She loses her cell phone at the airport and Kirk, as part of airport security, finds it, answers her call, and gets invited to a party to return it. That leads to a hockey game, and then, officially, a real date. It's not often we see the girl asking out the guy, but hey, change is good.
The movie's premise (and overall success) hinges on us believing that a girl like Molly, whom all the guys agree is a solid 10 out of 10 on the old attractive scale, would actually want to date a guy like Kirk, who's only a 5, maybe a 6. And once Kirk and Molly engage in conversation and we get to know these grounded, humble characters, we see that such an idea is possible. Kirk and Molly are written deeper and more realistic than the usual archetypes of this genre. The movie convinces us they could actually be real people and undermines the belief that beautiful girls only want to date men who are "in their own league." I appreciated that Sean Anders and John Morris' screenplay set out to deconstruct some of the myths that hot women are necessarily perfect and superficial. We learn Molly has an ulterior motive for dating Kirk and may be just as insecure as he is.
Of course, the movie isn't just about analyzing the dating world or men and women's assumptions about one another. It also contains its fair share of raunchy humor, the likes of which we've seen before. Some of it I questioned, like why we had to see Kirk's obnoxious older brother (Kyle Bornheimer) come out of the pool in his underwear, or why Jack pulled his pants down in front of his friends to show them his shaved manhood (no guy I know would actually do this). Moments like these seem to exist just so the audience can go "Ugh!" and turn away in disgust. If that's the case, why do it? Do the filmmakers believe that just because something is shocking it's also funny and entertaining? And did we really need another hit-to-the-groin shot? Will this cliché ever die?
Not that there aren't some good comic pay offs. For instance, when Kirk decides to do some man-scaping of his own, we get some funny visuals and reaction shots. And his explanation to Molly about why he couldn't properly meet her parents was priceless, not least because it reinforced that women like to be told the truth, no matter how outrageous.
Despite its familiar path and absurd ending, which is more or less on auto-pilot, She's Out Of My League is good-natured, funny and light. By the end, we've grown to like and care for the sympathetic characters and we appreciate how its moral conscience doesn't take a back seat to the raunchy humor. It's more the other way around. As in American Pie, the characters and their predicaments come first.
After seeing this movie, one thing I hope is the actors, especially Baruchel, don't keep taking on these kinds of roles just because they're easy. A movie like this is brisk and entertaining, sure, but I hope it's a project in between even better ones. After all, it probably wasn't hard for the cast to play these characters, and because the screen loves them so much, it'd be nice if they utilized it to try something more new and interesting.