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Way below anyone’s league

I am living proof of Einstein’s relativity theory on the time-space continuum. On a Thursday afternoon around 3 weeks ago, I wasted five hours of my life I can never get back. Okay, it was only two. Still, it felt like five – time being relative and all.

After cringing and daydreaming my way through She’s Out of My League, the forces of all that is good about film compel me to ask: what the hell has happened to American romantic comedy? I am no film guru by any means, but I think there’s a reason I have never heard of director Jim Field Smith. Even imdb.com didn’t help much: I’ve never heard of any of the other films Smith has directed, written or starred in.

She’s Out of My League seems to be a kind of male version of the Cinderella story: an average guy meets the girl of his dreams, who happens to be blonde, busty, funny and sweet – WAY out of his league. But, with a little encouragement, Kirk (Jay Baruchel) takes a chance and asks Molly (Alice Eve) on a date. And, she says yes (hey, this is Hollywood). But Kirk can’t believe his luck – why would a girl like Molly ever date him? See, according to one of his very ‘wise’ friends, Kirk’s a five and Molly’s a ten, and the ‘rules’ of dating dictate you can’t jump more than two points above your own rating. Kirk can’t even play the money or fame card: he lives with his parents and is a security guard at the airport.

After a few dates, Kirk decides Molly is too good for him, and he breaks up with her. Of course, as soon as he has, he realises that looks don’t matter and that he doesn’t have to hover around the relegation zone anymore. The writers probably intended for this epiphany to be endearing in some way or to be empowering to the Joe Soaps of the world. It just isn’t. The crude jokes – including a truly awful ball-shaving scene – are tired and weighed down by clichés.

Perhaps it would be better to place She’s Out of My League in the ‘bro-movie’ sub-genre rather than label it a romantic comedy. However, this would be an insult to films like The Hangover, which could actually be enjoyed by both sexes. Even a largely male audience will surely derive no pleasure from the obvious sexual innuendos without the gratification of any actual onscreen sex.

I have to wonder whether the critic from Rolling Stone magazine (a publication that has some reviewing credibility in my eye) who called it “A Date Movie Must” has ever been on a date with a real person. I cringed my way through every agonising second it took for the film to finish and it was not because of the jokes were too ‘naughty’. I was simply embarrassed for the actors, the director, the producers, the technicians and anyone who is remotely connected to the movie.

Only if you’re desperate and dateless (or wish to remain so).

Rating: 1 out of 5
Director: Jim Field Smith
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, TJ Miller, Mike Vogel, Lindsay Sloane

* She’s Out of My League releases in South African cinemas on Friday, 25 June.

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