by Jeff Meyers
It's only been 90 minutes since I saw She's Out of My League and I'm already struggling to remember what happened. The movie isn't an entirely unpleasant experience, but whatever goodwill it engenders while you watch it — there are a few laughs, a few sweet moments — evaporates after leaving the theater.
Jay Baruchel (Undeclared, Tropic Thunder) is a sweet-natured everydude, working for the Transportation Security Administration at the Pittsburgh airport, killing time with his foul-mouthed buddies, and pining for his selfish twit of an ex-girlfriend. When a chance encounter with overachieving Aryan goddess Alice Eve (a "rock hard 10," his friends sputter) develops into an unlikely romance, Baruchel gets overcome with insecurity. As everyone in his life explains, he's a "5 ... a 6 at best." Will Jay overcome his self-esteem issues and keep his stone-cold fox of a girlfriend? Will extreme humiliation and jokes involving bodily functions make it that much harder? Clearly you've been living under a rock if those questions prove too daunting to answer.
Crammed somewhere between the second-rate Judd Apatow bro-banter and third-rate Farrelly Brother gross-outs is the nugget of a good idea: That a perfectly average guy becomes so convinced he doesn't measure up to his girlfriend he ruins his chance for true romance. In smarter, funnier, more ambitious hands, She's Out of My League could have delivered the same kick Say Anything did 20 years ago. Unfortunately, director Jim Field Smith and his writers want so desperately to make 40 Year Old Virgin meets Something About Mary, they throw in every artificially comic set piece they can think of.
Valiantly, Baruchel tries to create a likable, flesh-and-blood character amid his mostly obnoxious co-stars. His family is a vulgar cartoon, his ex is the embodiment of misogynist stereotyping, and his friends are mostly mouthpieces for scripters Sean Anders and John Morris' labored wit. Best bud T.J. Miller is clearly meant to be the Seth Rogan/Jason Segel stand-in, but his comic persona hasn't fully jelled. His boorish one-liners swing from laugh-out-loud funny to cringe-worthy, and small flourishes — like his infatuation with Hall & Oates — are only half-baked. Surprisingly, the strongest part of She's Out Of My League is Baruchel's charmingly awkward romance with Eve. The two actually have chemistry. Still, no amount of understated emotional truth can overcome poorly delivered pre-ejaculation and man-grooming jokes.
Jeff Meyers writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.