WRITER: Sean Anders & John Morris
DIRECTOR: Jim Field Smith
BUDGET: $20 million (estimated)
you know that moment in 97% of all romantic comedies where one of the two recently-fallen-in-love parties admits something to the other one that ends up splitting them apart until the big finale get-back-together gesture that allows the film to end with a kiss as the camera pulls out wider and wider? well i feel like i am about to have one such moment, ironically, with the romantic comedy She's Out Of My League.
i have to admit that the only reason i watched this film in the first place was because i didn't think it was going to be that good. i go to the movies a lot, but even i can't see everything and have to make decisions to see some films over others. however, in an effort to have a more complete view of the year in movies when it comes time, at the end of the year, to make best and worst lists and hand out the FBNF awards i have been playing catch up with movies that hadn't looked worth it. and i have to say that so far i was generally right to have skipped them.
last week alone i "caught up" on three didn't-look-very-good films and 66.66666% of them were ones i was right to have skipped in the theatres. however, then there was the other 33.3333% that was She's Out Of My League which turned out to be one of the funniest films i have seen this year. and it is that "funny" part that is so important.
romantic comedies are generally predictable on many levels. the films are usually bright, the main characters follow a usual arc in their path to eventual happiness (ala the admission/fight that leads to the break-up i mentioned earlier), there is often a best friend or two on both sides of the relationship that bring much of the comedy.... you get the gist.
all that to say that given how "similar" these films are when you really look at them, their success and failure comes down to a few things and one of the biggest is the funny. When Harry Met Sally had all the standard rom-com fair and it was really funny. When In Rome (part of the past weeks 66.66666%) carried the rom-com tropes with pride but, except for the supporting characters played by will arnett and dax shepard, the film wasn't funny. sure, this is a bit of a simplification and there is more to why When Harry Met Sally is a classic and When In Rome is not, but this isn't a thesis on the romantic comedy genre. this is a discussion of She's Out Of My League which, as i mentioned before, is really funny.
often comedies, romantic or otherwise, start off strong with the funny and then slowly peter off as the film goes on. as if the writers used up all their ideas in the first half of the film and had nothing much left for the second half as they got past the initial idea and had to actually figure out the complete story. She's Out Of My League doesn't have that problem. there is funny throughout this one.
from the main character's awkward speech to his ex-girlfriend about how he is getting so much action since they broke up (his friends told him that in order to get her back he had to make her believe that he was doing great without her) to the hysterical discussion about how he is a 5 (he made it up to a six with a half a point each for being funny and a nice guy, but lost a full point for driving a piece of shit car. whereas is friend gave himself an extra point for being in band - although it is a hall and oats cover band) and the girl is a hard 10 and how no one can ever date more then 2 number positions different from themselves. i could go on and tell you about his friend who is always quoting/referencing disney cartoon love stories like Aladdin or the great scene at the dinner table when the 10 meets his family for the first time, or.... add to that the endearing characters, the fun story and you got yourself one surprise of a good romantic comedy.
so, this is the part of the discussion where i hold a boom box over my head, or run as fast as i can to the new years eve party or walk across a sea of people in the subway as they cheer me on in order to let She's Out Of My League know that - although i only watched it because i didn't think it was going to be very good, i was wrong and i fell for it and this feeling of like i have for it is real.... applause... music... smiles... camera pulls out.... cut to black.