She’s Out of my League (2010)

(On TV, June 2015) I quite like Jay Baruchel’s neurotic screen persona, but a little bit of it goes a long way, and with rare exceptions (I’m thinking about The Trotsky, itself far from being a conventional film), he’s best used in supporting roles than leading ones.  She’s Out of my League can justify his presence by squarely tackling the issue of romantic partners with mismatched looks, but the sub-par quality of the script does Baruchel no favours despite his better-than-average comic timing.  Torn between conventional (if gender-bent) romantic comedy trappings, raunchy comedy and attempts at observational wit, She’s Out of my League seems stuck in an uncomfortable place where the crass jokes (and there’s one of them that’s far better in the adulterated G-rated trailer than in the frank R-rated film) sabotage whatever else the film may be trying to say.  I’m not entirely comfortable with the film’s conflation of middle-grade beauty and slovenliness (which plays along the common Apatowesque comedy construct of unattractive males attracting beautiful girls for unspecified reasons and not much work) or even, heck, the very notion of various levels of attractiveness.  The film may deconstruct the notion of “levels” late in its running time, but it goes so half-heartedly… after basing near an hour’s worth of material on it.  There’s definitely something in She’s Out of my League what could have been explored, but I’m not sure that what’s in the film qualifies as the best possible exploitation of it.  To its credit, She’s Out of my League could have been much, much worse: it does have its heart at the right place, and avoids a lot of the misogyny that could have sprung from its premise.  But the result still feels off-centre, superficial even when it aims for a bit of profundity.

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