Paramount // 2010 // 104 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Daniel Kelly (Retired) // June 16th, 2010
How can a 10 go for a 5?
She's Out of My League is a low-key and modestly well assembled studio comedy. It provides a selection of likable performances, a throwaway plotline and some fairly funny humor, which in fairness is a tastier recipe than most current popcorn entertainment. Viewers looking for something as raucous and memorable as The Hangover or Knocked Up will likely be disappointed, but as frothy R-rated comedies go, She's Out of My League isn't too bad.
On the scale of attractiveness, Kirk (Jay Baruchel, Tropic Thunder) is a "5." He's a nice guy, but he looks unremarkable, drives a crappy car, and is stuck in an unrewarding job at airport security. After a fluke encounter, Kirk befriends Molly (Alice Eve, Crossing Over), who by his buddies' admission is a hard "10." Molly has a gorgeous face, a hot body, a friendly demeanor, and she likes hockey, thus the general consensus is Kirk doesn't stand a chance. However, Kirk and Molly quickly warm to each other much to the surprise of those around them, and a relationship begins to bloom. However Kirk's ex-girlfriend (Lindsay Sloane, The Accidental Husband) and Molly's ex-boyfriend (Geoff Stults, The Break-Up) are both determined to win their respective partners back, and hey, it's impossible a "5" and a "10" could last together, isn't it?
Penned by Sean Anders and John Morris (the duo behind 2008's Sex Drive), She's Out of My League is actually a good deal tamer than many recent R-Rated movies. The dialogue is often rife with sexual innuendo and several of the comedy set-pieces require a modest tolerance for gross-out humor ("man-scaping" and premature ejaculation take center stage at individual junctures), but overall I have to say She's Out of My League isn't a particularly edgy or outrageous film. This might contribute to it being somewhat forgettable, but in fairness it might also be part of the reason the picture is so light-hearted and inoffensive. Director Jim Field Smith puts a lot of effort into making his film endearing, as opposed to lathering on boundary-pushing crudity, ensuring that She's Out of My League is a minor but perfectly palatable addition to its overstuffed genre.
Both Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve give winning performances. There's not much depth in either character, but both thespians bring oodles of charm and an obvious capacity for comedic material. Together they make a genuinely sweet screen couple, with Baruchel in particular bringing a delightfully unassuming naivety to his role. Even though the story is formulaic, audiences will still be able to care about these characters, something that should largely be attributed to the solidity of the performances. The supporting cast is rife with able goofballs (Lindsay Sloane, T.J Miller, Nate Torrence) and for the most part they do a good job. Improvisation obviously played a large part during production, T.J Miller (Cloverfield) showing the most obvious aptitude for this particular style of comedy. Krysten Ritter (Confessions of a Shopaholic) shows terrific command of an acidic punch line as Molly's doubting friend, and alongside Eve brings some classy sex appeal to the production.
The plot moves in very familiar directions, the finale even taking place in an airport terminal. Still, the picture is well paced (it feels about right at 104 minutes) and director Jim Field Smith does a good job of keeping the central relationship naturalistic. There are some genuinely nice touches (Kirk doesn't initially even suspect that Molly has any interest in him), which help prevent the obvious story from getting overly stale. It's nice to see the filmmakers handle the central conceit with consideration and occasional bursts of subtly; in dumber hands, the whole property would have undoubtedly devolved into a lackluster fantasy sex farce. The film doesn't break new ground, but it undoubtedly has its heart in the right place, and that's the core reason why it's worth a watch.
The dialogue is often amusing, but the big landmark jokes don't always pay off. The "man-scaping" sequence definitely drew out a few deserved lowbrow chuckles, but a moment of premature sexual excitement left me a little cold. Surely this sort of joke had its day in 1999 with American Pie? Still, Kirk's family and friends are an assortment of nicely adjusted cartoon creations, and the zippy banter keeps the giggles and smiles consistent, meaning that the film deserves a passing grade in terms of laughs.
She's Out of My League is set in Pittsburgh, and the city is nicely photographed by Jim Field Smith. His restrained and cute cinematography adds another layer of warmth to proceedings, wrapping the affair up as a robust charmer. The Hi-def video presentation is a letdown, the picture quality seeming unusually soft and indistinctive on this Blu-Ray release. The image lacks pop and vibrancy, albeit that could be an unavoidable prerequisite of Field's relaxed shooting style. Still the colour scheme does seem unbelievably muted for a new Blu-Ray release. The musical score here isn't particularly imposing, and so the audio track does a good job of keeping the momentum in the dialogue, balancing it with flourishes of music when the feature demands. It's not particularly impressive, but it does the job.
The disc comes with a commentary, which actually exhibits director Jim Field Smith as a dry host. Smith's track endures multiple dead spots and seems overly focused on mundane technical complications. He does have a good word to say for nearly every participant, but the overall experience is quite dull. The deleted scenes and blooper reel included run for about 10 minutes when combined, and offer a nice glimpse at the free and creative energy visible on set. Finally a mock featurette is included that examines the etiquette of dating, featuring two characters from the movie. It's good for a few laughs, but it's short and insubstantial. In truth this isn't a great package.
She's Out of My League is an amiable Friday night rental, but I doubt
anyone will want to see it more than once. It's neither a "10" nor a
"5," though admittedly it's probably closer to the latter. The Blu-Ray
presentation is a little on the mediocre side.
Not Guilty, but not essential either.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Portuguese)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted/Extended Scenes
* Blooper Reel
* Video Clip: Kirk's Date