She's Out of My League: At least a six
"This Molly is a hard ten. And that five point disparity, that's a chasm. Chasm? Chasm. You can't jump more than two points." --Stainer
(This review includes mild SPOILERS)
Good, or even decent romantic comedies are far and apart. Most of them fall victim to predictability, clichés, weak scripts or dialogue, or insufferable characters. For most of its duration, She's Out of My League stays clear of most of these, thanks, mostly to its charming leads. Unfortunately, by its third act, it falls into the usual traps and becomes one more of the bunch.
This 2010 film, written by Sean Anders and John Morris, marks the debut of director Jim Field Smith. It follows Kirk (Jay Baruchel), an insecure TSA agent with lack of confidence and low self-esteem, who finds himself surprised to be courted by a hot girl called Molly (Alice Eve). When he realizes what's going on, the above-quoted discussion ensues among his best friends. Basically, they argue that it's impossible for Molly (a "hard ten") to be attracted to Kirk (a "five... at least, a six") because of the "point disparity" between them. This only heightens Kirk's insecurities, which serve as the backdrop of his relationship with Molly.
The film succeeds in presenting two charming, likable leads. Jay Baruchel conveys the necessary earnestness for us to connect with Kirk. His character is not a goofy caricature taken out of a cartoon, but rather feels like a real insecure guy. Meanwhile, Molly doesn't fall victim to the "unreachable babe" trap. Her character feels real as well, and the way her relationship with Kirk unfolds is believable (at least as far as this type of films go). Their chemistry is what carries the film through most of its duration.
Kirk's friends, on the other hand, feel more like a plot device than real friends. It's not that they're annoying characters or that the performances are bad, but I just didn't feel them click with the ease and realism that Kirk or Molly did. Some of Kirk's interactions with his friends feel forced, or result in awkward or unnecessary moments. For example, there's a scene that involves shaving and pubic hair that really doesn't serve any great purpose neither to the script nor as a comedic device. It's not very funny or shocking, it just feels awkward and unnecessary. But still, regardless of these small flaws, I still think the film was holding up quite nicely. Those scattered, ineffective moments aside, I have to admit I chuckled several times, and laughed a few.
Unfortunately, whatever the director and writers had going for in those first acts, they ditch in the last act. Just like Kirk's insecurities didn't allow his relationship with Molly to advance, it seems that the writers' insecurities didn't allow them to continue with what they had developed, and they ended up resorting to one of the most predictable and clichéd plot devices that has ever plagued the world of romantic comedies: the race in the airport. *shudders* Just the notion of seeing yet another broken-hearted lover running through terminals in the nick of time, to meet his/her better-half right before he/she leaves is annoying enough. But to make matters worse, most of this final act is executed so poorly that I was rolling my eyes at all of it. I did have a good laugh at one particularly anti-climatic moment after Kirk delivers an impassionate speech as he plans to get off the plane to meet Molly, but that's about it.
She's Out of My League was never set to be a "hard ten". But through its first acts, I was about to settle on a solid eight. However, that cringe-inducing last act warrants a deduction. Take two points off, so we're at six. "And that disparity, that's a chasm."
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She's Out of My League Official Trailer
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