Take your average Ben Stiller vehicle (such as Meet the Parents or Along Came Polly), sift it through a Judd Apatow filter, and what you get is something like She’s Out of My League. Original? Not really, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some fun to be had.
Jay Baruchel plays your typical slacker loser you’ll not doubt recognize from similar movies. He’s got a dead-end job, absolutely no confidence or self-respect, a crappy car, and appropriately riotous friends (T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence). Kirk’s life is even more pathetic thanks to a family who cares more about his ex-girlfriend (Lindsay Sloane) and her new boyfriend than him.
In his job as an airport security officer, Kirk meets the lovely Molly (Alice Eve). Without really realizing it, Kirk does a couple of favors for the beautiful damsel in distress. Molly, who’s just getting out of relationship with a real jerk (who wants to bet he’s the opposite of Kirk in every possible way?), decides to give this unsuspecting loser a try.
What follows is a burgeoning love story in between comic moments of everyone either disbelieving Kirk’s dumb luck or endlessly preaching that he’s not good enough for Molly. Throw in a slew of absurd and embarrassing situations our hero attempts (and usually fails) to extricate himself from, and the story is off and running.
There’s nothing all that special about She’s Out of My League. We’ve seen this basic setup before and there’s absolutely no doubt how this one too will end. The film also struggles at times being almost as awkward as its leading man. We’re given little reason as to why Kirk continually returns to the far less than loving embrace of his family (other than to provide more absurd comic fodder), and the film falls back on cliche with the trademark romcom final act fight intended only to bring our lovers closer together.
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth a look. Along its rather predictable run, the film does provide some funny moments, a nice (if somewhat schmaltzy) lesson about measuring someone’s worth, and Baruchel and Eve both prove likable leads.
Learning a lesson from Apatow, the film’s best parts aren’t from the overly elaborate Stiller-esque stunts, but from the male bonding scenes between Kirk and his pals. It’s in these moments the film not only feels the most authentic, but also provides some of the best laughs.
You could probably do better, but if you’re looking for nothing more than for a fun night at the movies than this one is definitely in your league.