“She’s Out of My League”
2.5 out of 4 stars
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, T.J. Miller and Lindsay Sloane.
Now playing at the West Theatre.
For those who haven’t heard the portmanteau term “moodle,” it breaks down to “man poodle,” a guy considered cute and likable but not dating material. And that unique breed has a unique problem in “She’s Out of My League.”
Still reeling from the breakup with his ex-girlfriend (Lindsay Sloane), Kirk Kettner (Jay Baruchel) isn’t looking to get back into the dating world anytime soon. But when he encounters gorgeous Molly (Alice Eve) in his airport security job, he stumbles into a date without even trying.
And even better, she is truly interested in him and wants to continue seeing him.
What Kirk can’t figure out is why this goddess with a high-paying job and unlimited potential would have anything to do with a loser like him. Adding to his doubts are the disbelief of his friends (T.J. Miller, Nate Torrence, Mike Vogel) and parents (Debra Jo Rupp, Adam LeFevre) and interference from his jealous ex, as well as Molly’s old boyfriend (Geoff Stults), both of whom are dead set on mending old relationships.
Baruchel could not fit the role of a moodle more as scrawny, unconfident, Dodge Neon-driving Kirk, whose self-deprecating personality alone makes rates him a 5 on the attractiveness scale, at least according to his pals.
Considering our hero is the archetypal beta male, this knocks his motley crew down another notch to gamma level, including Vogel as easygoing Jack, Torrence as idealistic Devon and Miller as overbearing oaf Stainer. Don’t even ask about the nickname, just know that he considers himself a 6 because he’s in a band — a Hall and Oates cover band, but still…
As for the 10 in question, Eve certainly is sweet as Molly, a lawyer turned event planner who doesn’t put much stock in things like rankings. But the actress’ appeal doesn’t mask a character who’s completely underwritten. As Kirk’s obsessive and inconsiderate ex, Marnie, Sloane is almost more noteworthy considering she spends more time with his family than he does.
Romantic comedies generally don’t have villains, and this one is no exception. Sure there are antagonists, such as Kirk’s moronic brother (Kyle Bornheimer), who flirts incessantly with Molly in front of his own pregnant fiancee (Jessica St. Clair). Even Molly’s old flame Cam is a pretty good guy.
The chief obstacle here can be found in Kirk’s own ego, as his deep-rooted insecurities prevent him from making any progress in life, particularly his relationship with the perfect girl. This is a thoughtful enough approach to the story, but it quickly turns into a one-joke premise as everyone around implies that Kirk is a mutant who has entered into some kind of Faustian deal. The dominant theme of being defined by other people eventually rings true, but these characters and jokes are almost too slight to make an impact.
As long as we’re talking about leagues, “She’s Out of My League” is still batting for the farm team compared to other raunchy-yet-poignant romances, such as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.” Having Judd Apatow take a whirl at the script would have at least bumped the movie up to be a benchwarmer for the majors.
Now playing at the West Theatre.