As with all trends in the entertainment industry a successful business model becomes standard practice and is milked dry until production companies and distributors move on to the next fad. One of the most profitable practices Hollywood has regurgitated in recent years is the youth-oriented R-rated comedy. As proven by Judd Apatow and Todd Phillips with a sharp script and a little bit of charm this sub-category of American cinema can be cost effective and easy to enjoy. When a film plays into every cliché that has come to define the genre and gives its audience little else the resulting bore will look something like She’s Out Of My League.
The Paramount/DreamWorks Pictures release has most of the elements that made films like The 40-Year Old Virgin The Hangover and American Pie hits (including an ensemble cast of quirky but congenial characters and an abundance of sexual stimulus) but fails to deliver the bawdy bite that brought those movies legions of fans hundreds of millions of dollars in box office receipts and even some critical praise. The formulaic premise of director Jim Field Smith’s flick focuses on likable loafer Kirk (Jay Baruchel) who has a chance encounter with the angelic Molly (Alice Eve) and ends up on a series of nearly disastrous dates with her as he tries to “seal the deal.” Even though he screws up at almost every turn and has no business being with the blonde beauty by the time the credits roll the unlikely couple is flying off into the sunset on the way to living happily ever after.
I don’t have a problem with Cinderella-styled romantic fantasies so the implausibility of the Baruchel/Eve relationship wasn’t what ruined She’s Out of My League for me. Rather it was the lack of originality that kept the film in the minors. Most of its sequences are painfully derivative from the cringe-worthy crotch-shaving debacle (which sadly marks the second time that Mr. Baruchel’s nether regions have been groomed on screen) to the introduction of Kirk’s undesirable family from hell (you’ll remember these roles -- played by other actors -- from Four Christmases). Even his faction of lovable losers who provide most of the film’s jabs are just shadows of the characters that made Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall movie marvels. The nail in the coffin is Baruchel’s mediocre performance that proves he’s still too inexperienced to lead a film of any shape or size.
I had hoped that the disc’s special features would provide some much-needed humor to counter the film’s lack of legitimate laughs but with just a few deleted scenes and an extended ending that have no effect on the finished product it’s a letdown. Actor Nate Torrence draws a chuckle or two on his “Dos and Don’ts of Dating” guide but it’s not nearly enough to save She’s Out of My League from being totally forgettable.