Film Review: She’s Out of My League

Kirk (Jay Baruchel) is a lowly TSA employee who lives at home and is in a serious emotional crisis: he is ready to profess his love to his ex-girlfriend to try and win her back.  Problem is: she’s moved on, has a new boyfriend, and the two of them have been all-but adopted by Kirk’s current family. To sum it up: his life sucks.

That is, until he inadvertently saves the day when he finds gorgeous Molly’s (Alice Eve) lost iPhone, returns it, and a relationship ensues. The catch, however, is that Molly is a “hard 10” while Kirk is a “hard 5”: she is “out of his league”. Will they  fall in love? *Waits with baited breath*

This movie isn’t outstanding, it isn’t the next 40 Year-Old Virgin, and it won’t win any awards for credibility or originality. So why even bother reviewing it? Well, I tend to have a soft-spot in my heart for the “homage”. You know that I love satire; satire is a form of homage with a sprinkle of hatred; you will see this in movies such as Spaceballs or Not Another Teen Movie. Though this movie has hints of satire, it mainly works as a loving homage to a particular decade’s comedy tropes (the 80’s) and one actor’s particular casting decisions: John Cusack.

But first, the actual movie. Jay Baruchel is, and probably always will be, the “awkward, reluctant hero” when it comes to movies. Starting off in bit roles, he is now the lead in this film, which he carries admirably. His charm and comedic timing, mixed with his unconventional look, make for a perfectly believable lead. It is not entirely unbelievable that he scores Alice Eve’s Molly, who is extremely likable, which is a definite credit to Ms. Eve. She portrays Molly as very down to earth, without a hint of that stuck-up bitchiness that lesser actresses (I’m looking at you, Megan Fox) would have brought to the role. And my GOD does she look good in lingerie! I’m not saying seeing her in lingerie would cure all diseases and end all current and future wars, but damned if it wouldn’t come close! I won’t lie, I fell in love with Molly, and believed that she could fall in love with a nerd like me by the end of the film, which I know is a long shot in hell, but a man can wet dream, right?

Awkwardly moving on…The other side actors do an okay job. His friends are pretty lame overall, providing the useless “rating system” that was the hook for the film, and providing enough self-doubt in Kirk to eventually get him to overreact in a very predictable “oh no! how will they ever fix it?” moment. (Spoiler alert: They goddamn fix it) T.J. Miller as Stainer does a good job being the perverted smart-ass sidekick, and a lot of his lines seemed improvised and well done, for someone who’s only other notable credit is the awesome, but not-terribly-comedic Cloverfield. Nate Torrence’s married-man Devon was a waste, and his “I love Disney” shtick mixed with his incessant need to be wanted by another woman (you get it? he’s married! it’s hilarious!) was just Jessica Simpson levels of dumb.

So again, why bother with it? I’ll tell you why, jackass: because it is the other characters that make this movie turn from just a normal comedy into a full-blown John Cusack 80’s homage. The fidgety mom played by That 70’s Show‘s Debra Jo Rupp, the awkward father played by Adam LeFevre, and then the three main rip-offs offenders: Lindsay Sloane as the vindictive ex-girlfriend Marnie, Geoff Stults as the preppy, handsome yet evil ex-boyfriend  Cam, and the semi-retarded, sports-minded older brother played by Kyle Bornheimer.

Let me set up some scenes for you: Kirk wants to be a pilot. Cam is a pilot. His plane’s name is “Foot Long” (subtlety five!). In one scene, Kirk is mistaken for a waiter by Cam, embarrassing him. Cam wears a Ralph Lauren polo in another scene. In another, Molly’s father hugs him and compares him to Kirk. Getting nostalgic yet? In a scene between Kirk and his older brother, they face off in a hockey shootout in their basement, complete with a slow-motion shot filled with excessive spittle. At an awkward dinner table scene, Marnie dresses up provocatively (ew, gross!) in order to outperform Molly, but to no avail.

If this doesn’t sound frighteningly nostalgic to you, then you haven’t seen enough 80’s comedies to truly appreciate the vintage humor. Movies like Better off Dead and The Sure Thing seemed to nail this to the “T” (for “tubular”). Hell, it even shares similar themes to Revenge of the Nerds, which is some sort of dubious honor, even though that is one of my favorite movies of all time (it speaks to my heart). She’s Out of My League unabashedly nods its head to its predecessors, and in that regard it succeeds admirably.

The only thing lacking, which seemed to be a staple of most 80’s comedies, is female nudity. Yes, Alice Eve in a bikini makes Viagra redundant, but never once do her generous gifts ever fully expose themselves. However, for any of you interested, we do get to see an extended shot of Jay Baruchel’s bare behind, so…there’s that. Thanks, Jim Field Smith, you ass-hat.

If you like 80’s comedies (especially John Cusack films) then you will enjoy She’s Out of My League more than the average person, which is why I enjoyed it as much as I did. Still, if the only reason you are seeing it is for the “hard 10” Alice Eve (I’ll show YOU a hard ten, Ms. Eve) then you’d be better off heading onto ye ol’ internet for some google ogle action.

Supplemental viewing: Revenge of the Nerds, Better Off Dead, The Sure Thing, Crossing Over (to see Alice and her “wonderland”)