Film Review: She’s Out Of My League

by | Mar 15, 2010 | COMMUNITY

There is a level of resistance from most audiences dismayed by the romantic comedy genre. In recent years, this genre has attempted to reconstruct itself in the face of such opposition. Take Judd Apatow for example. With his first forays in the genre with The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, Apatow’s casting choices questioned the expectations of one’s leading man. Instead of incorporating an A-list star or an all-around pretty boy actor, he took a chance by enlisting actors that by all accounts could be considered normal. Several years later, this standard has garnered it’s own backlash (especially in regards to one of the pioneer actors Seth Rogen; who is guilty of his own over-saturation). With all of these factors in place, perhaps that is why She’s Out of My League caught me off guard.

There is a level of resistance from most audiences dismayed by the romantic comedy genre. In recent years, this genre has attempted to reconstruct itself in the face of such opposition. Take Judd Apatow for example. With his first forays in the genre with The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, Apatow’s casting choices questioned the expectations of one’s leading man. Instead of incorporating an A-list star or an all-around pretty boy actor, he took a chance by enlisting actors that by all accounts could be considered normal. Several years later, this standard has garnered it’s own backlash (especially in regards to one of the pioneer actors Seth Rogen; who is guilty of his own over-saturation). With all of these factors in place, perhaps that is why She’s Out of My League caught me off guard.

The film centers on the plights of Air Traffic Security Agent Kirk (Jay Baruchel). He deals with the scrutiny of a bizarre family, a group of friends who have pegged him their whipping boy and an ex-girlfriend who has become accepted into his family more so than himself. While working what he expected to be a normal day at his dreadful job, he encounters Molly (Alice Eve). As the previews have suggested, she is a hard ten in comparison to his mere five status. If the gods were truly at work, the two would have no chance of ever lasting. That is simply not the case for these two.

This film would not work if it weren’t for all of the distinct comedic personalities that grace the screen. She’s Out of My League discovers a way of easing the audience into its awkward universe uncomfortably, but within ten minutes you embrace everyone with open arms. This is in no small part to the core group of friends that surround Kirk. TJ Miller, Mike Vogel and Nate Torrence engage in unexpectedly witty banter that helps progress the story and provide each character with a unique, pivotal timing that is completely necessary. They balance each other out and help give Baruchel the proper support to shine as a leading man in his first time out.

It’s impossible to ignore the inevitable comparisons that will be made between Baruchel and Rogen. They both are veterans of the ill-fated Apatow television world with appearances in Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. As soon as Apatow’s film career took off, he brought along canon of actors. As much as I enjoy Rogen, Baruchel is much easier to like in this capacity. When Kirk and Molly’s relationship begins to blossom, it’s a joy to experience it along with them. I also think that Baruchel’s type of humor expands beyond the Apatowian tropes of dick jokes. In that, he is already excelling and showing incredible promise for what will hopefully not be the last of many leading roles to come.

Baruchel’s Kirk would not last in this cinematic universe without a romantic opposite that could hold her own. Eve’s Molly comes across as larger than life at first. As she begins to break down walls, that is where her performance hits it’s high notes. Eve’s beauty doesn’t overcast a down-to-earth personality that is easy to adore. Her interactions with her best friend and business partner Patty (Krysten Ritter) are phenomenal. Their relationship acts as a catalyst for the plot to show the reflective nature that Kirk and Molly share in regards to their group of friends. Ritter is also incredibly capable of pulling off numerous moments of foul-mouthed comedic treasures that feel right at home with her character.

While She’s Out of My League has a lot going for it, there are several moments that are easy to anticipate. I felt the wonderful bevy of characters this film had to offer was enough to overlook these instances.

It is easy to take She’s Out of My League at face value. The story isn’t all too original at the seams. The one defining characteristic in it’s plot is that as Eve falls for Kirk, Kirk’s reservations and low self-esteem overwhelm him to the point of falling victim to his own self-fulfilling prophecy. How the film discovers its resolution is what makes it worth a viewing.

I absolutely abhor using this term to describe anything worth watching cinematically, but here I go. In the film’s sheer defining moments, She’s Out of Me League earns its heartwarming sentimentality and proves itself to be much more than what it appears to be at the surface.

Shannon Cleary

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.




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