Monday 22 January 2018

Movies: She's Out of My League ***

(15A, general release)

Paul Whitington

Directed by Jim Field Smith, She's Out of My League is essentially a sweet and good-hearted romantic comedy that's hamstrung by a jarring strain of fratboy toilet humour. If Smith and his writers had shown a bit more backbone in resisting the lure of lowest-common-denominator potty jokes, they might have had something truly winning on their hands.

As it is, the film is pretty entertaining, and its unlikely tale is interspersed with some genuinely funny moments. Canadian actor Jay Baruchel plays Kirk Kettner, a young man from Pittsburgh whose life thus far has not been an unqualified success.

He works in the airport and spends most of his time moaning to his friends Stainer, Jack and Devon about how much he misses his ex-girlfriend Marnie (Lindsay Sloane).

Marnie is a nasty, vain creature who treats Kirk contemptuously but still hangs out with his parents and brings her new boyfriend to visit them. In other words Kirk is a bit of a doormat, but he's also a nice chap, and his essential decency is about to get him noticed.

When an extremely good-looking young woman called Molly McCleish (Alice Eve) arrives at the airport, Kirk is the only man who doesn't ogle her.

Molly is charmed, and when she leaves her iPhone at airport security, he finds it and agrees to give it to her the following night.

When they meet again they hit it off, but when Molly's best friend tells Kirk that Molly is into him, he can't quite believe it.

Neither can his friends, especially Stainer, who is obsessed by the natural pecking order of the beautiful and the not-so-beautiful, and can't get his head around the idea that a "hard 10" like Molly could possibly go out with a man like Kirk, who is by his own assessment, at best a 'six'.

Molly is interested, but Kirk's inferiority complex will play havoc with their attempts to establish a lasting relationship.

At times She's Out of My League feels a bit like two films happening at once. On the one hand you have the eternally pubescent lad humour of the Judd Apatow school, on the other the bones of a wholesomely engaging romance.

The result is jarring, though there are some very funny scenes: Jay Baruchel makes a convincing geek everyman, Alice Eve a suitably stunning muse and TJ Miller all but steals the show as the apparently crass but secretly neurotic and uncertain Stainer.

Irish Independent

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