She’s Out of My League

Movie Information

The Story: A dorky airport security guard suddenly finds himself in a relationship with a woman who he worries is too attractive for him. The Lowdown: An often pleasant, occasionally amusing romantic comedy that's more harmless than good.
Score:

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Jim Field Smith
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence
Rated: R

Bargain-basement Judd Apatow is the best descriptor for Jim Field Smith’s She’s Out of My League. It’s the same formula: a romantic comedy peopled by slackers who come out on top, but not before some heartfelt character growth and a smattering of R-rated high jinks. The strange thing is that the makers almost get it right.

That “almost” is the rub, however. The plot follows the usual romcom blueprint: Boy meets girl in an out-of-left-field situation, romance sprouts, but misunderstandings occur to muck everything up, only for it all to be tidied up in the final reel. It’s a concept that’s been dug up and dusted off more than dinosaur bones and here there is nary a surprise nor shock to be found.

Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder) plays Kirk, an underachieving, dorky airport-security agent, who meets the supposedly stunningly beautiful Molly (Alice Eve, Crossing Over). According to the film, Molly appears to be the end all, be all of feminine perfection, but she looks a little too much like a classier version of the girl from Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” video for me to take this seriously. Nevertheless, the two fall into a relationship and the crux of the film revolves around Kirk’s insecurities surrounding dating someone “out of his league.”

Even with a plot that runs on rails, the film has a difficult time with defining motivations—characters delve into relationships or start arguments for no other reason than the almighty script has decreed it from on high. All of this—as well as some clunky bits of acting towards the beginning that feel like excerpts from commercials for feminine-hygiene products—isn’t enough to totally sink the film. That’s because there’s a genuineness and likability in the way the film goes about its business. Baruchel, who has had a tidy little career offering comedic support, probably shouldn’t have attempted carrying a film. But he’s likable enough as this type of nebbish sort, even if I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was giving a pretty serviceable Christian Slater impersonation.

There’s nothing all that knee-slappingly hilarious in the film; the humor rarely rises above the realm of amusing. And yet, somehow, this is something of a small victory. Maybe my delicate sensibilities have been somewhat calloused by the diarrhea jokes of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell (2009) or the supposed hilarity of date rape in Observe and Report (2009), but She’s Out of My League‘s version of the gross-out—a series of gags revolving around scrotal shaving—doesn’t seem so bad (granted, the premature ejaculation bit in the trailer is even more pointless in the film proper).

As a whole, the film is harmless and painless. Sure, I suppose there’s something to be said for that, but this is the movies we’re talking about, not dental surgery, so call this a tepid endorsement at best. Rated R for language and sexual content.

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6 thoughts on “She’s Out of My League

  1. T_REX

    I saw this and it is bad.

    Mr Souther, with all respect, isn’t your review saying its ok if you see it for free and bad if you have to pay for it?

    I must say with this movie and others like it I am getting tired of male leads in film being the “whiny,nerdy,awkward teen” (Michael Cera,Michael Cera 2 in Zombieland) so much so that I see myself teaming with the jocks in “Revenge of the Nerds”. Just a thought

  2. Justin Souther

    Mr Souther, with all respect, isn’t your review saying its ok if you see it for free and bad if you have to pay for it?

    I’ll say that most things are better for free. Though there are a handful of movies I haven’t paid to see, but they were still bad enough to where I still felt like demanding my money back.

    I must say with this movie and others like it I am getting tired of male leads in film being the “whiny,nerdy,awkward teen” (Michael Cera,Michael Cera 2 in Zombieland) so much so that I see myself teaming with the jocks in “Revenge of the Nerds”. Just a thought

    I guess my thing is that I feel less bothered by this trope simply because it’s been around forever — even before Revenge of the Nerds. I guess I’m just so used to the “nerdy guy makes good” shtick that it no longer phases me personally. I tend to get more annoyed at the “trendier” movie sub-genres that get piled into theaters from time to time, hot on the heels of some big thing. The glut of superhero movies and zombie flicks over the last decade spring to mind immediately.

  3. Ken Hanke

    I guess my thing is that I feel less bothered by this trope simply because it’s been around forever—even before Revenge of the Nerds. I guess I’m just so used to the “nerdy guy makes good” shtick that it no longer phases me personally.

    A very good case could be made that Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd made careers out of “nerdy guy makes good” back in the 1920s before the term “nerd” even existed.

  4. T_REX

    I love Keaton and Lloyd (Chaplin especially) but they were gods compared to what passes for comedy leads these days.

  5. Ken Hanke

    I love Keaton and Lloyd (Chaplin especially) but they were gods compared to what passes for comedy leads these days

    Well, Chaplin doesn’t so much apply. I’m not saying you’re wrong about the quality assessment. All I’m saying is that the nerd empowerment concept is essentially what they ran on nearly 100 years ago. It’s not the concept that’s at fault here, it’s the practitioners.

  6. john r

    I saw this on a friends DVD copy, and I just kept thinking, thank God I didn’t pay to see this. I still regret the time loss.

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