Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence, Lindsay Sloane, Kyle Bornheimer, Jessica St. Clair, Krysten Ritter, Debra Jo Rupp, Adam LeFevre
Written by: Sean Anders, John Morris
Directed by: Jim Field Smith
MPAA Rating: R for language and sexual content
Running Time: 104
Date: 03/11/2010
IMDB

She's Out of My League (2010)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Chiding Scale

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Until recently, most romantic comedies relied on some kind of lie or escapade that keeps the protagonists apart for 80 minutes, no matter how artificial or how removed from actual human behavior. The newest batch of Judd Apatow -- and Apatow-inspired -- comedies instead feature a winning combination of inventively vulgar humor on the surface, and earnest sweetness underneath. Even though these movies often involve nerds hooking up with hot chicks, they still focus on characters engaging in a truthful way.

The new She's Out of My League conjures up some of this goodwill, but it's also the movie that begins to reveal the inner workings of the formula; the seams start to show. Jay Baruchel (Knocked Up, Tropic Thunder) stars as Kirk, a skinny nerd who lives in Pittsburgh, never finished college, drives a crappy car and works a crappy job for an airline, moving frenzied passengers through airport security. Gorgeous Molly (Alice Eve) passes through his metal detector and leaves her iPhone behind. Kirk retrieves it, wins her gratitude and a date.

The dramatic friction comes because of the clash between Kirk's nerdiness and Molly's hotness, and the fact that every other character reaffirms Kirk's insecurity (whereas Molly seems to genuinely like Kirk). The movie is a bit too frantic, and it transparently inserts some of the "big money" scenes these movies are supposed to have (a premature ejaculation joke is the centerpiece). However, this is pretty rich battle-of-the-sexes material, and the filmmakers deliver fairly consistent, pleasantly diverting chuckles.

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