She's Out of My League

She’s Out of My League
Director: Jim Field Smith
Screenplay: Sean Anders & John Morris
Stars: Jay Baruchel (Kirk), Alice Eve (Molly), T.J. Miller (Stainer), Mike Vogel (Jack), Nate Torrence (Devon), Lindsay Sloane (Marnie), Kyle Bornheimer (Dylan), Jessica St. Clair (Debbie), Krysten Ritter (Patty), Debra Jo Rupp (Mrs. Kettner), Adam LeFevre (Mr. Kettner), Kim Shaw (Katie), Jasika Nicole (Wendy), Geoff Stults (Cam), Hayes MacArthur (Ron)
MPAA Rating: R
Year of Release: 2010
Country: U.S.
She’s Out of My League Blu-Ray
No one wants to do the moodle.Beauty is only skin deep, or so the old saying goes, which is why those who aren’t beautiful need to have thick skin. In this respect, the imminently likable doofus-hero of She’s Out of My League, played by Jay Baruchel, must have particularly thick skin, as he endures a constant barrage of social punishment as a result of his meek physical appearance, nasally voice, lack of sexual experience, and generally timid, modest disposition. According to his friends he’s a “moodle”--a man poodle--which means that women want to feed him and cuddle him, but not take him seriously as a romantic object.

When we first meet Kirk, he is practicing a speech that he intends to deliver to his ex-girlfriend Marnie (Lindsay Sloane) as a means of winning her back. Marnie is not a particularly nice person, and the manner in which she rejects Kirk’s proposition (in Kirk’s parents’ living room with her new boyfriend snacking on Tostitos in the background) is evidence of just how far Kirk has sunk to want her back. As luck would have it, Kirk, who works security at the Pittsburg International Airport, has a meet-cute with Molly (Alice Eve), the “she” of the title who is clearly out of his league, when she leaves her iPhone at the security checkpoint. Molly, who is tall, blonde, and beautiful, is also intelligent (she has a law degree) and extremely successful (she co-owns her own event-planning business). Yet, she sees something in Kirk--his affable nature, his humor, and, most of all, his decency--and is drawn to him, resulting in a relationship that runs contrary to the conventional social decree that people of disparate outward attractiveness should not be together.

This point is driven home again and again by everyone around them, particularly Kirk’s best friends: Stainer (Cloverfield’s T.J. Miller), a motor-mouth extrovert who is secretly nursing his own romantic wounds and low self-esteem; Jack (Mike Vogel), who is handsome and confident, but not very bright; and Devon (Nate Torrence), the portly married member of the group who is the only one to stand up for Kirk and insist that anyone can be with anyone else. Kirk’s caricatured blue-collar family is no help either, especially his obnoxious older brother Dylan (Kyle Bornheimer), whose perpetual torment of his skinny younger brother is matched only be his Neanderthal-level understanding of gender relations and social graces. Molly faces her own set of challenges, including her best friend and business partner Patty (Krysten Ritter), who questions her intentions in being with Kirk, and her fighter pilot ex-boyfriend (Geoff Stults), who immediately assumes that Kirk must be her new gay BFF.

Co-written by Sean Anders and John Morris, who also penned this spring’s Hot Tub Time Machine, and directed by Jim Field Smith, a British comedian making his feature debut, She’s Out of My League manages to strike a workable balance between the crass and the poignant, even if it sells some of its characters a bit short. Molly, for example, never feels quite real, even though you can sense the effort put into making her more than just a pretty face. The film does much better with Stainer, who is the kind of guy who hides behind a wall of all-knowing rhetoric to keep others from noticing his own quiet plight (the film’s emphasis on guy talk and its unmistakable moral that underachieving dudes can score with hot girls is clear evidence that is was written by men). The film certainly has its share of funny moments, including a sequence in which Devon helps Kirk engage in some “manscaping,” which in another movie could have just been tacky, but here is funny and actually kind of sweet. Not as successful is the sequence in which Kirk and Molly are caught at a particularly awkward moment by her parents; it plays a pivotal role in the plot, but it feels like a cheap excuse for an overused body fluid gag. Yet, even when individual jokes don’t work, the movie as a whole gains enough comedic momentum to keep it going until the over-the-topic climax at--you guessed it--the airport.

Jay Baruchel, a consistent and reliable supporting player who has recently moved front and center by lending his voice to the awkward hero of How to Train Your Dragon and playing another awkward hero in the upcoming The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, has an amiable screen presence that you can’t help but like, which makes his constant emasculation more funny than painful (he’s like an even geekier Ben Stiller from his Meet the Parents days, when he turned embarrassment into endearment). Baruchel is probably best known for his supporting turns in Judd Apatow films like Knocked Up (2006), although he made the greatest impression on me as a tragically self-deluded would-be boxer in Million Dollar Baby (2004). His acting chops help him transcend the male-fantasy nature of the story and make us believe that a woman like Molly could fall for him. And, even when the film eventually goes on auto-pilot in creating ham-handed reasons for he and Molly to be temporarily apart, it’s hard not to cheer for them, despite the rift it might create in the universe.

She’s Out of My League Blu-Ray

Aspect Ratio2.35:1
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
  • Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
  • SubtitlesEnglish, French, Spanish, Portuguese
  • Audio commentary by director Jim Field Smith
  • Deleted scenes
  • Blooper reel
  • “Devon’s Dating Show” featurette
  • DistributorParamount Home Entertainment
    Release DateJune 22, 2010

    The 1080p high-definition transfer of She’s Out of My League looks spot-on. The image is sharp, crisp, and well-detailed, with no signs of compression artifacts or distracting levels of image sharpening. I didn’t see the film in theaters so I don’t know how this presentation compares, but I was surprised by how bright and colorful the film is. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround soundtrack is also very good, with clear dialogue on the front soundstage, good use of speaker separation to expand the movie’s use of music, and a few impressive uses of the surrounds and low end (particularly at the beginning when a plane flies overhead).
    There are only a few supplements included on the Blu-Ray, beginning with a screen-specific audio commentary by director Jim Field Smith. These kinds of movies generally call for a group commentary in which directors, writers, and actors can all bounces memories and jokes off each other, but here Smith is all on his own, which is not necessarily a terrible thing, although he does sound like he could use some company from time to time. There are three minutes of deleted scenes, including an extended ending that includes a pretty good gag involving Marnie; a seven-minute blooper reels that contains what is probably only the tip of the iceberg in terms of ad-libbing obnoxious one-liners; and a goofy featurette called “Devon’s Dating Show” in which the incurably romantic Devon attempts to instruct the boorish Dylan in the ways of courtship.

    Copyright ©2010 James Kendrick

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    All images copyright © Paramount Home Entertainment

    Overall Rating: (2.5)

    James Kendrick

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