I think it’s fair to say that this piece of Judd Apatow-lite bromantic relationship comedy hardly jumps of the page as a ‘must see’. The promotional material makes She’s Out Of My League look like a teeth-pulling hybrid of He’s Just Not That Into You and American Pie-style gross out. And, to be honest, as far as lazy comparisons go, that pretty much hits the nail on the head, minus one key ingredient: the ‘teeth-pulling’ part.
Far from it, in fact, because this is actually a funny (if not quite hilarious) and heart-warming film that will probably surprise you by exceeding any preconceived expectations.
Tropic Thunder and Knocked Up bit-parter Jay Baruchel (whose vocal talents you may also recognise from How To Train Your Dragon) stars as Kirk, an average Pittsburgh twenty-something stuck in a dead end job, in this case, an airport security guard, and a pre-thirties slump.
Kirk is your by-the-numbers modern hero: kind of goofy but with a heart of gold and beset by feelings of inadequacy, as unlucky in love as he is in life…yadda yadda.
After failing in his attempts to get back with his ex-girlfriend, Kirk feels like his love life has flat lined. Until, one morning, a beautiful events planner, Molly (young British actress and fellow raising star, Alice Eve), leaves her iPhone at security while catching a flight. Ever the gent, Kirk agrees to deliver the phone back to Molly at a party she’s hosting in the city a few days later, with Molly giving him some tickets to a hockey game in thanks.
Much to Kirk’s surprise, Molly also has tickets for the game, which becomes an impromptu date of sorts. And so begins an unlikely romance.
She’s Out Of My League has one main running joke, an attractiveness ‘rating system’. The scrawny Kirk is a 5 and blonde bombshell Molly is a ‘hard’ 10, so none of his friends thinks he stands a chance.
Of course, it comes down to being yourself, because Molly’s not just a superficial bimbo and likes Kirk for who he is not what he looks like, the life-affirming message Kirk has to learn to get over his insecurities. Once again, yadda yadda.
OK, so these off-the-shelf plot and character arcs may sound tired, and are, but it is a credit to the writing team (Sean Anders and John Morris), actors and director (debutant Jim Field Smith) that She’s Out Of My League raises laughs from the opening scene and keeps them coming for most of its, bloated, 105 minutes running time. The gags here are rude and crude – shaving one’s privates and *cough* trouser oysters are two of the big set pieces – but never cringe worthy.
Baruchel and Eve put in strong performances as the leads. They are suitably mismatched, but both give their characters enough life to raise them above stereotype. Baruchel infuses Kirk with a geeky, mumble-mouthed neuroticism, which diverts him from the usual Jewish slacker routine you’d get from someone like Seth Rogan. And the instantly likeable Eve, seen in Sex And The City 2, makes Molly sincere enough for the anti-Barbie doll image to stick (she’s an Oxford graduate in real life, fact fans).
It’s the supporting cast that really stand out, though. Some of the film’s best moments are with Kirk’s moronic family, and his obnoxious best friend, Stainer (T.J. Miller), is set up for a scene-stealing turn by a string of top lines. Stainer, the lead singer of a Hall and Oats cover band, no less, lets rip with a brilliantly blasé succession of beer mat moralities, most of which involve telling Kirk to stop whinging and be a man – classic blokey advice.
However, She’s Out Of My League‘s over reliance on rom-com conventions means, despite its early promise, it all becomes increasingly predictable in the final act. Even resorting to the most eye-rolling cliché of them all – the last minute dash through the airport – to wrap everything up.
This is a classic example of a DVD movie. It’s lack of big name draw leaves it as an early career vehicle that will garner more attention after its leads develop more star power, helped along by some positive word of mouth recommendations.
Don’t let the terrible marketing campaign (and title) fool you. She’s Out Of My League is a screwball farce that delivers some genuine belly laughs and a consistent stream of chuckles.