Let's get this out of the way.
She's Out of My League is the kind of film that virtually every independent filmmaker looks at and thinks "How did that film get the green light?" or, even more bluntly, "I could do that."
Truthfully, quite a few of them would be correct. She's Out of My League is your basic, run-of-the-mill young adult sex comedy/love story with a familiar premise, a predictable storyline and an almost painfully lazy ending that has been played out in at least 10 films running through my mind at this very moment.
You know what else?
For the most part, She's Out of My League actually works. No, seriously. She's Out of My League is funny, occasionally very funny. She's Out of My League is amazingly sweet. She's Out of My League gets edgy when it needs to get edgy and, for the most part, holds back when it needs to hold back.
What can I say?
Despite knowing the storyline from beginning to end and practically being able to quote the dialogue before the actors, I laughed heartily, sat back in awe as first-time director Jim Field Smith patiently let the jokes ride out to almost ridiculously extreme limits and completely enjoyed the natural chemistry between co-stars Jay Baruchel, a well known character actor recently featured in Night at the Museum 2, and Australian actress Alice Eve.
You would have to be 1 to not realize that She's Out of My League is about a 5, Kirk (Baruchel), who inexplicably finds himself dating a hard 10, Molly (Eve). Both Kirk and Molly are surrounded by naysayers who remind them constantly that they are mismatched and doomed to failure.
Kirk is a high school graduate whose parents spent his college money on a swimming pool. He works at the Pittsburgh airport as a security screener for TSA, drives a Neon, lives with his highly abnormal family and has an on-again mostly off-again relationship with Marnie (Lindsay Sloane).
Have I mentioned that he's remarkably average?
Molly, on the other hand, is NOT average. She's beautiful. She's intelligent. She's a social butterfly with wealthy parents, a beautiful apartment and a stellar job as an event planner making a minimum $15,000 per event.
Get it? She's out of his league.
Everything about She's Out of My League screams out mediocrity.
Yet, against all odds, Baruchel embraces his chance to play a leading man and shines while Eve, a relative newcomer to the American big screen, is simply a bold and beautiful actress with the acting chops to match her beauty.
She may not be out of Baruchel's league, but her performance is simply out of of the ballpark. Together, they are sweet and funny and awkward and adorable...all the things we want our onscreen couples to be even when we can't quite figure out why they're even together.
Yet, they are together and this, being a Hollywood film, means that there are going to be inevitable conflicts involving cultural differences, self-esteem issues, revelations from our perfect "10" and, of course, the absolutely necessary happy ending. Along the way, Kirk will stand up to Marnie and his family. Molly will stand up to her own family, with whom she's been dishonest about her decision not to pursue law and about Kirk's actual career. In a rather sweet twist, Molly's father is played by her real-life father Trevor Eve.
What really makes She's Out of My League work so well is the chemistry of the cast, the believability of the relationship between Kirk and Molly, the director's willingness to push jokes to their limits (not surprising given Smith's history in improv) and, again, an abundance of heart that all add up to make the film one of those under-the-radar films that pleasantly surprises. Baruchel manages to be nerdy and insecure without ever becoming annoying and pathetic, while Molly manages to project being a "Hard 10" with a healthy dose of refreshing humanity.
The supporting players are equally as strong, including Kirk's trio of dysfunctional friends including Stainer (T.J. Miller), yes there's a story behind the name, Jack (Mike Vogel) and the lone married friend, Devon (Nate Torrence), with whom Kirk finds himself in a rather hilarious situation in the film's funniest scene. As Molly's best friend and primary naysayer, Krysten Ritter nicely mixes just a touch of heart with her bitchiness.
So, while She's Out of My League is the kind of film that most indie filmmakers look at and think "Why can't I get my big break like that guy?," the truth is that the film transcends its pre-destined mediocrity and unimaginative ending by simply being a sweet, funny and outrageous little film that entertains far more than one might expect.
Featuring breakout performances by both Baruchel and Eve along with entire ensemble cast, She's Out of My League great date night for couples seeking a lighter cinematic option. Without question, the film deserves an audience when it opens nationwide on March 12th.
Have you ever thought someone was out of your league?
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic