Probably She’s Out of My League’s biggest flaw is that it’s not actually a Judd Apatow movie. It has the requisite heart and humor [ranging from subtle to coarse, but going mostly with coarse] and a premise that, as far-fetched as it might seem, really isn’t [trust me on this one – I’ve been where Kirk is here, just not as overtly humiliatingly].
The plot is simple enough: gawky guy Kirk [Jay Baruchel] returns a phone to gorgeous Molly [Alice Eve] and they wind up together – except for brief intervals when they’re not [because he doesn’t believe he deserves her]. Baruchel’s Kirk is pretty much one of the characters he’s played for Apatow given the lead. Molly is, as they describe her in the film, a hard ten, but Eve’s energy and willingness to go for it keeps her from being a generic hottie.
Because writers Sean Anders and John Morris and first-time director Jim Field Smith aren’t Apatow, they get most of the humor and romance beats, but give us nothing insightful. Despite some great gags [and some that are pretty D.O.A.] and a lot of heart, there’s nothing really new here – though the trio’s version of the race through the airport finale is certainly fresher than we’ve seen in a long time, if only because they don’t swamp it in romance, but continue to let the funny carry through to almost the very end.
Another problem is the degree of humiliation to which Kirk is submitted. The premature ejaculation gag, for instance, is over the top but still, it works because of the performances. Unfortunately, the riffing on the event by Kirk’s alleged friends – Jack [Mike Vogel] and Stainer [T.J. Miller] – lays as many rotten eggs as golden ones. And when Molly’s ex, a pilot named Cam [Geoff Stults], thinks Kirk and his friends are gay, it’s just a bit too much [though his assessment of Kirk’s friends as people is staggeringly accurate, which almost saves the bit].
The movie is saved by Baruchel, Eve, Nate Torrance [Kirk’s married friend, Devon] and Kristen Ritter [Molly’s potty-mouthed best friend and business partner, Patty]. They elevate the good material and make the less than good stuff tolerable. Lindsay Sloane has some good moments as Kirk’s ex, Marnie, who has practically been adopted by his family since the two broke up – Kirk’s boneheaded, mean family is far too grotesque, especially his brother, Dylan [Kyle Bornheimer], and his mother [Debra Jo Rupp] may not be abusive, but she seems content to watch her husband and Dylan treat Kirk like a doormat.
If you’re looking for a movie that combines humor [both sweet and vulgar] and heart and will entertain but not stay with you once you leave the theater, She’s Out of My League will fit the bill.
Final Grade: B-