She’s Out of My League: B
In recent years, Judd Apatow has learned how to perfectly group together an ensemble comedy cast. Bringing together actors like Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, Apatow’s films have shed light on comedic actors who work wonderfully together. Now one of those actors has broken through to star in the charming romantic comedy “She’s Out of My League,” directed by Jim Field Smith. Jay Baruchel, recognizable as the mohawked Canadian in the smash comedy “Knocked Up,” the main character in Apatow’s short-lived television series “Undeclared” and a bit actor in the comedy “Tropic Thunder,” has taken the reins to lead this comedic film. But after perfecting his goofy comedic timing in previous film ventures, Baruchel does a complete about-face to play an unassuming and almost painfully shy guy in “League.”
Baruchel plays Kirk Kettner, an airport security guard who recently got dumped by his girlfriend, Marnie. Baruchel throws himself fully into the character, but only to the annoyance of the audience. Kirk has all the bravado of Michael Cera, combined with the nasally tones of Christian Slater and stutters that would make Kristen Stewart proud. He is the epitome of a pushover, whether the abuse comes from his family, his ex-girlfriend or complete strangers.
The story is set in motion when Molly, a blonde bombshell who’s a “hard 10 on the hotness scale” according to Kirk’s friends, leaves her iPhone at the airport. Who but Kirk would be the one to find it? When he returns the phone to her, Molly invites him to a hockey game as a gift and the two hit it off. Kirk is the nice guy, the kind that Molly never dates, so she asks him out again, much to the dismay of Kirk’s friends (who consider him a “hard 5,” sometimes a 6.)
Among these friends is Stainer (who got his gross moniker from a fourth grade incident where he peed his pants). Played by comedian T.J. Miller, Stainer is the funniest character in the film as the fully confident, somewhat delusional foil that thinks he gets hotness points for being in a Hall and Oates cover band; never mind that he resembles a slightly less geeky Napoleon Dynamite. His comedic timing is perfect, delivering lines like, “I swear I will go dark side on you, I will bite your chin off,” with finesse and a crazy glint in his eyes.
The titular character of this film is Molly, played by British actress Alice Eve, whose performance is actually rather two-dimensional and boring. Though she seems perfect, she has problems of her own. Her parents expect her to be a lawyer, but she has a passion for party planning and lies to them about it. On top of that, she’s been used by guys before and is always put on a pedestal by those who are intimidated by her beauty. Being with Kirk is easy for her given his awkward demeanor and goofy jokes. In one scene, she even goes to visit his family who are absolutely nothing like Kirk. His mother (played by Debra Jo Rupp of “That ‘70s Show” fame) is the quintessential homemaker, married to a blundering moron played by Adam LeFevre. Kirk’s brother is the ultimate Neanderthal jock (played hilariously by Kyle Bornheimer), who abuses and embarrasses Kirk every chance he gets. Molly holds her own, finding herself quite comfortable among the weird and dysfunctional family, but the same is not true of Kirk.
After getting hot and heavy in Molly’s apartment, the two are interrupted when her family comes for a visit. Nervous and with a suspicious stain on his pants, Kirk scrambles out, leaving the family dumbfounded and the audience plenty embarrassed for Kirk.
The film is full of moments like these, where you want to grab Kirk’s shoulders and shake at least an ounce of courage into him. He is so painfully shy, taking the role of typically self-conscious, nerd-with-a-heart-of-gold to a whole new level. However, there are parts where it’s actually kind of adorable, which makes the romantic storyline somewhat bearable.
Despite its flaws, “She’s Out of My League” is definitely the funniest film in theaters right now. It can’t hold a candle to past films like “Superbad” or even romantic comedies like “There’s Something About Mary,” but it still has a certain charm and will keep you laughing almost all the way through. “She’s Out of My League” is now out in theaters everywhere.