She’s Out of My League

by | Jun 28th, 2010 | 12:48PM | Filed under: DVD Reviews, Movies

Riding the sick/sweet bandwagon of today’s raunch-rom-coms, She’s Out of My League isn’t anything out-of-the-way special. But thanks to the irrepressible likeability of Jay Baruchel and a supporting cast ripe with comic potential, the movie ends up scoring a sloppy (and filthy) low-expectations win.

It might be humanly impossible to hate Jay Baruchel. (I realize the moment I say that dozens of you miscreants will come out of the woodwork pronouncing just how much you dislike the skinny Canadian comic actor.) I’ve known that since the short-lived 2001 sit-com Undeclared (or maybe it was his manic bit role as the Zeppelin-obsessed fan in Almost Famous). Others may have noticed him in Knocked Up and Tropic Thunder.

In 2010 Hollywood has bet big on Baruchel’s irresistible underdog appeal. How to Train Your Dragon was a delightfully surprising success, but that was voice work—terrific, spot-on voice work, but not a full display of Baruchel’s powers. The Sorceror’s Apprentice will be his first starring role in a big, super-hyped, summer tentpole franchise flick. But in between came She’s Out of My League, a small, Apatow-esque raunch-com that truly puts Baruchel’s “aw-shucks” charm to the test.

Other than Baruchel, She’s Out of My League has no official connection to Judd Apatow, but it clearly wants to follow in his stylistic footsteps. Guys in perpetual arrested development try to grow up and deal with those strange and baffling creatures of the opposite sex. And characters push the polite-company boundaries of crudity (male genitalia and body fluids are the usual topic of discussion, if not openly on display) while still sporting a sincerely sweet heart.

Baruchel plays Kirk, a likable, luckless-in-love schmuck whose job as a TSA airport security guard leads to a meet cute with Alice Eve’s gorgeous Molly. The two begin dating against the advice of their respective pals, and despite Kirk’s fear that—as the title subtly suggests—she’s out of his league.

Misguided Guy Advice is the driving theme in She’s Out of My League, but thankfully the actors lined up as Kirk’s “romantic” advisors are plenty amusing. T.J. Miller was the goofy guy with the camera in Cloverfield, but this is his chance to let his freak flag fly—a flag stitched together from scraps of Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, and even a touch of Jon Heder’s Napoleon Dynamite. It all works for Miller—his lunkhead character Stain bulldozes in and dominates most of his scenes and owns all the best lines.

(NOTE: Thanks to Spaz for reminding me what I noticed back in March but forgot this time around: The actor T.J. Miller is most reminiscent of vocally and attitude-wise is Jason Lee, especially Lee’s debut in Mallrats.)

Nate Torrence and Mike Vogel nicely round out Kirk’s questionable “support” team, and Kyle Bornheimer is another to watch—as Kirk’s moronic brother Dylan, Bornheimer steals every scene Miller hasn’t already swiped. On the girl-pal side, Krysten Ritter of Breaking Bad and Confessions of a Shopoholic remains darkly, sardonically appealing—enough so that you hope she finds a way out of these typical “weird friend” roles in rom-coms.

Still, She’s Out of My League has to sink or swim on the talents of Baruchel and Eve. Fortunately they share a no-fuss charm and low-impact chemistry. Maybe She’s Out of My League is too slight and sketchy to fully swim, but Barachel and Eve keep it dog-paddling along.

Baruchel’s a brooding Montgomery Clift crossed with hang-dog Jimmy Stewart—all of it poured into a Jerry Lewis gangly, bobble-headed Everyman. That may not sound like the most appealing of combos on paper, but the actor’s perpetual fade-away state of disbelief and discouragement makes it work. And the British Eve is a welcome find: Not only do Eve’s pert nose and warm smile take the edge off her scary sultriness, but the script makes Molly a competent, un-neurotic, well-rounded person—a welcome change of pace from the usual Type-A freak-show females populating these movies.

All this fills She’s Out of My League with just enough likable and laughable performances to make you wish it was a little better flick overall. Like underachieving Kirk, the movie doesn’t have much in the way of point or purpose, but thanks to its cast it stumbles easily enough into humor and—intentional offensives aside—a lazy, watchable likeability.

She’s Out of My League is available for rental from redbox.


16 Responses to “She’s Out of My League

  1. Trevor L.
    Posted on June 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    He was also in I’m Reed Fish, which I thought was pretty good and underrated.

  2. Spaz
    Posted on June 28, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Hmm, the actor TJ Miller reminded me of was Jason Lee, with his similar voice and delivery. Yes, Kyle Bornheimer was good in this. VERY different from his recent and short lived Romantically Challenged.

    All in all, I really enjoyed this low-impact rom-com.

  3. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on June 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Spaz you are RIGHT about Jason Lee–Miller has that same reedy voice. I saw She’s Out of My League in the theaters last spring, took notes, and never reviewed it. And when I was re-watching it the other day I did not have my old notes. I THINK in my original notes I noticed the Lee connection, because the other day I kept saying to myself, “who does he remind me of? Ferrell, yeah, sure… Rogen, sure… but there’s SOMEONE ELSE…” I’m sure now it was Jason Lee! Now that you mention it, it seems like Miller is REALLY drawing a LOT off Lee’s first role, as Brody in Mallrats.

  4. matphoto
    Posted on June 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I think Jesse Eisenberg in ‘Zombieland’ plays that type of character better than anything I’ve seen from Baruchel or Cera. I hope he starts getting more parts, as well as Danny McBride who was hilarious in ‘Pineapple Express’.

  5. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on June 28, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I like Eisenberg a LOT–have ever since Roger Dodger. But honestly, I’d rather see him lean more toward serious drama like The Squid and the Whale. Plus, Eisenberg, while a great actor, isn’t necessarily always “likable”–the appeal of his characters are that they’re sometimes self absorbed neurotics. Baruchel on the other hand is just purely friendly and lovable.

  6. matphoto
    Posted on June 28, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    There are too many movies. I may try to check out a few of those he did earlier in his career like the two you mentioned. And maybe this upcoming social network movie will be a good serious role for him.

    With an art background I’ve always responded more to cinematography, visuals, and even music more so than acting in films, but I think I’m beginning to shift over a little. I just saw ‘Lord of War’ and really enjoyed what Cage gave to that incredible camera work. It depicted something terrifying in a sort of lighthearted, matter of fact way that made it even more shocking, and Cage was spot on with that type of indifference. If only ‘Bad Leutenant’ was as finely polished it could have done the same thing.

  7. Lucie Burd
    Posted on July 3, 2010 at 10:50 am

    This movie was cute & hilarious. A chic flick revised for a male to enjoy w/ a lot of profanity.

    • Currently 4/5 Stars
    jrbear
    Posted on July 5, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    just watched it this weekend. I was very happily surprised at how warmly funny, cute and touching it was. it didn’t go over the top in any respect. it’s rated a B+ on the ‘capsule review’ here. i would agree.
    Much better than other recent ‘romantic comedies’ out lately, like ‘When in Rome’, ‘Valentine’s Day’, etc.
    It was great to see a ’10+ gorgeous blond’ played as smart, caring and un-affected.
    I kept thinking that Alice Eve looks a lot like Rebbecca Mader (Charlotte on Lost). maybe sisters?. A British accent sometimes seemed to creep out. I looked her up, yup, she’s a Brit playing the All-American Sweetheart. She’s on to bigger things. So is Krysten Ritter, the always sexy, sassy brunette BF(seen lately in Breaking Bad). She’s on to starring roles in 3 films.

  8. Bob
    Posted on July 6, 2010 at 7:01 am

    That’s Montgomery Clift.

  9. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on July 6, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Thanks, Bob! As redblog readers know, I’m TERRIBLE with name spellings–this time I was trying to make sure I spelled “Montgomery” (not to mention “Baruchel”) correctly and I went and screwed up the OTHER half.

    • Currently 3/5 Stars
    julie
    Posted on July 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    I had to shut the movie off . It offended my guests even before the airport scene. Bafled by why the language was necessary. Less crude remarks would have still gotten the point across. Watched Hot tub time machine last weekend. Also strong language but both plots redeemed the predictable-ending movies.

  10. JP
    Posted on July 6, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    If you’re gonna make an R rated movie with profanity, you might as well have at least some nudity to spice it up…more than just using a male butt-double! Could’ve at least had one of the chicks in a sexy bathing suit in the pool scene…that purple one-piece suit was atrocious! C’mon people, remember your target audience! This movie should’ve been directed by an American, not a stuffy Brit!

  11. Greg Joy
    Posted on July 7, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Baruchel was also in Million Dollar Baby. Someone that posted previously nailed – it’s a chick flick that men can enjoy.

  12. Pandy
    Posted on July 8, 2010 at 3:12 am

    Oh I wanted to this! It looked super funny in the preview! Is this out to rent yet?

  13. Ashley Gierzak
    Posted on July 8, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I looooved this movie!!! some of my fav movies are forgetting sarah marshall, the hangover and knockedup. So I of course thought this was one of the best movies of the year. Also Get him to the greek was pretty good, except for an awquard 3 way scene. all well this movie was awesome!

    • Currently 2/5 Stars
    Shills
    Posted on December 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

    This is a lost opportunity. The last 20 minutes ruined this movie for me.