More yucks than yuks
By Michael O'Sullivan
Friday, March 12, 2010
There are only two really good jokes -- or two really gross ones, depending on your sensibility -- in "She's Out of My League." Both of them are stolen.
The first one, in this crass comedy about an Average Joe who's dating a Way Above Average Jane, is little more than a riff on the infamous "hair-gel" scene in "There's Something About Mary," with the addition of a hungry dog. If you have no idea what I'm talking about -- or why that description is even vaguely disgusting -- you're too old for this movie. If, on the other hand, the scenario strikes you as simply, well, awesome, you probably already have your ticket in hand, purchased in advance through Fandango.
Enjoy, my friend.
"She's Out of My League" is the story of Kirk (Jay Baruchel) and Molly (Alice Eve). He's a schlubby airport security screener without a college degree, and she's a gorgeous and successful lawyer-turned-party planner. In other words, they're about as unlikely a couple as we've seen since, say, Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl in "Knocked Up." Like Rogen, Baruchel is no troll, but he's hardly a heartthrob. Close your eyes and he sounds a little like Christian Slater, circa "Heathers." Open them and he looks like Duckie from "Pretty in Pink."
Molly, by comparison, is a "hard 10," as Kirk's boorish friends keep reminding him: all blond hair, perfect teeth, pneumatic breasts and, presumably, unbridled libido. If John Mayer were reviewing this movie, he'd probably describe her as "sexual napalm," as he did ex-girlfriend Jessica Simpson in a recent Playboy interview. And yeah, it's just about that misogynistic.
All of which leads Kirk to undergo, with descending frequency: neurotic levels of insecurity (not funny), public ridicule (slightly funny) and the kind of performance anxiety that causes him, during one hot and heavy make-out session with Molly, to drop his coins in front of the slot machine, if you know what I mean.
Cue the uproar. Is there a word for the sound of laughter mixed with people throwing up in their mouths?
The other show-stopping yuk -- or should that be yuck? -- involves Kirk's attempt to shave his, er, body hair, in preparation for a date with Molly. If it sounds like a rip-off of the chest-waxing scene in "The 40 Year Old Virgin," it is. Only here, Kirk's aim, like the movie's, is bit lower. After much squealing, wielding of razor blades and flashing of Baruchel's bare buttocks, Kirk enlists the assistance of his married, somewhat more experienced buddy, Devon (Nate Torrence). Torrence tackles his barbering duties with the same perverse -- one might even say parental -- glee he brings to every scene he's in.
Ah, but the moments with him are fleeting. Otherwise, the film reverts to default mode: comic misstep followed by obscene insult followed by blast of loud rock music. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Molly isn't the only one who's out of an admirer's league here. The movie clearly aspires to rise to the smutty-but-sweet synergy of other, better films. But "She's Out of My League" can't touch them.
Contains pervasive crude language and unabated sexual content.