She’s Out of My League is the type of movie I will typically give a free pass for being “bad”. I don’t expect romantic comedies of this kind, whether they are on the high school, college, or post-graduate level to be high art (although there are obviously some exceptions). I look to them for something to tug slightly at my heart string with equal parts sentimentality and nostalgia. I’m a sap so I roll over for movies about the guy getting the girl after jumping a few hurdles and through a few hoops (I also have a bit of “hopeless romantic inside of my jaded heart somewhere as well). It’s supposed to be juvenile emotions projected onto any age group and then tempered with a dash of gross out humor to make sure it doesn’t go over board with tacky romance. Unfortunately for this film, what counts the most is underwritten while the balancing agent is morbidly overwritten.
Jay Baruchel plays Kirk, an airport security guard who once had ambitions to become a pilot but ultimately gave them up and accepted his lot in life. Not only has he accepted the fact that he’s stuck where he is, the film opens with him trying to get back together with the girl who dumped him two years ago. To make matters worse, his parents took such a shine to her that she came to hang out with them even after she broke up with Kirk. And although his friends respect him, he is the one friend who tends to become the butt of every joke. Clearly, Kirk is not the ideal man, in fact, he’s quite the opposite. Or is he?
Molly (Alice Eve) shows up late for a flight and in her haste to make it, leaves her phone in one of the airport security bins. Of course, being a “10” the entire time she is trying to make her flight all the guys are treating her like an object, except Kirk. Kirk stands out as the guy actually trying to do his job. Moments later, in a seeming moment of serendipity, Kirk finds her lost phone when she is calling it from the airplane. Molly invites Kirk to a party she is organizing so he can return her phone. Here begins (or, rather, doesn’t begin) the development of the relationship between Kirk and Molly.
Of course, Kirk and his friend Devon (Nate Terrance) attend the party, obviously out of their element. Kirk returns the phone but due to an unfortunate turn of events gets kicked out of the party. Molly apologizes and invites him and his friends to a hockey game.
Patty (Krysten Ritter) tells Kirk at the game reason she invited him was being she is interested in him. We are supposed to take this favor Molly is offering Kirk as an expression of feelings for him instead of just feeling bad for being kicked out of the party. I really don’t buy that at all. When was it even suggested before this that Molly was interested in Kirk? Because he was the only non-scumbag at the airport when she was trying to make her flight? When they barely talked at the party she organized at the Warhol Museum?
This misstep ends up plaguing the entire film and even the more genuine moments are affected as well. There is no real ‘development’ of the relationship no real portrayal of feelings only flimsy suggestions that barely assume friendship. Even worse, towards the end of the film when they begin to develop any actual tension it totally deflates just as it begins.
The fight that spawns over Kirk not shaking Molly’s father’s hand is completely ridiculous. I didn’t realize how important and “traditional” it was for a father to shake a man’s hand in this context not to mention how random it is that the parents come to Molly’s apartment at the time anyway. It merely comes off as a device to showcase Kirk’s ability to be honest later on. With the introduction of Molly’s ex-boyfriend we’re likely to assume that he wants Molly back. Well yes, he wants her back, but he barely puts any effort in at all. When he actually discovers that Kirk is With Molly instead of trying to undermine his chances, he simply tells him about Molly’s “defect” as it to plant a seed and skulks off never to be seen again. What’s worse, the defect isn’t all that crazy and most of what Molly and Kirk are feeling and why it becomes such a big deal is explained through exposition. None of these feelings were in the least even suggested before their fight.
All of this is a shame too because I thought the film ended very strong. Stainer’s (T.J. Miller) last attempt to make it their relationship work out is really great. His speech to Kirk is great as well as his attempts to find out what he did wrong with the woman at the airport restaurant. It really is important to be confident in yourself in a relationship or you will undermine the entire thing. If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love someone else.
As for the “gross out” humor it transcends simply being shocking and goes further into borderline absurdity. I’m sorry but I really can’t imagine any time when a best friend would willingly shave a friend’s balls for any reason whatsoever. Or even drop their drawers to show how important it is to shave down there. This just seemed like a grosser rip off of the speech Jay gives Andy in 40 Year Old Virgin.
And one final thing that is more generally related to the idea behind the film. This entire film and many other’s like it hinges on the main female protagonist being as hot as they purport her to be. Ok, yes, she is hot. But this isn’t just about finding her hot, but imposing the belief upon the audience that she is as attractive as they tell you she is. The story doesn’t make sense unless you genuinely believe she is THAT attractive. It no longer becomes an opinion and begins to be a stated fact. I never understood this trend in films, I don’t believe it makes sense on any level. Especially since I think Krysten Ritter is a lot more attractive than Alice Eve.
All in all, films like this are never the brilliant, but they work because they have heart. They’re good at what they are. Unfortunately I think the problems with the film overshadow the heart that it does have, although I still have a soft spot for the strong ending.