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Thursday, February 25, 2010

She's Out of My League (**)



As the title implies, She's Out of My League centers on the unlikely relationship between Jay Baruchel, an awkward schlub with low (or realistic, in certain regards) self-esteem and Alice Eve, a total knockout. The movie's central conflicts revolve around a numerical ratings system Baruchel and his three friends maintain that determines who should be dating whom (Baruchel is a 5, Eve is a 10).  The ratings system isn't much of a gimmick to hang a whole movie on; remove that weak premise and the filmmakers would be forced to, oh, I dunno, develop the characters and create genuinely interesting situations for them.  Stunning as Eve is, she is given a character with no shades of gray, no problems, no issues, nothing that would provide a satisfactory explanation for why she would want to be with Baruchel. (Her character explains that she likes him because he's "safe".  It just doesn't feel like enough.) She's Out of My League tries to overcome its story deficiencies with ribald comedy and R-rated dialogue. Its centerpiece comedic moment involves a gross-out scene of one of the characters shaving another's groin. (She's Out of My League loses many points for lingering shots of Baruchel's bare ass but no nudity from Eve or any of the female characters.) One thing She's Out of My League pulled off surprisingly well was making Pittsburgh seem like a pretty-looking city, reminiscent of how Up in the Air made Omaha and St. Louis seem like vacation destinations. The actors work hard to try to generate both comedy and sympathy for their characters. Baruchel and his friends all work for the TSA, which is depicted (accurately?) as a free-wheeling, anything-goes outfit made up of sleazy pervs and ne'er-do-wells.  Meanwhile, the presence Mike Vogel, star of Across the Hall, is a curiosity. It seems like he should be in a different movie altogether; I kept thinking maybe he and Eve should have broken off from the main story of She's Out of My League and fought terrorists on an airplane or something. 

P.S. The screening was one of the most unusual I've attended. BU cheerleaders performed post-screening acrobatics, stars Alice Eve and Krysten Ritter did a Q&A and rated three guys in the audience to date one of the cheerleaders, and on the way into the theater, they handed out decks of playing cards and free lube at the door.