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She's Out of My League DVD Review

She's Out of My League (2010) movie poster She's Out of My League

Theatrical Release: March 12, 2010 / Running Time: 104 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Jim Field Smith / Writers: Sean Anders, John Morris / Songs List

Cast: Jay Baruchel (Kirk Kettner), Alice Eve (Molly McCleish), T.J. Miller (Wendell "Stainer"), Mike Vogel (Jack), Nate Torrence (Devon), Krysten Ritter (Patty), Geoff Stults (Cam Armstrong), Lindsay Sloane (Marnie), Debra Jo Rupp (Mrs. Kettner), Hayes MacArthur (Ron), Kyle Bornheimer (Dylan Kettner), Jessica St. Clair (Debbie), Adam LeFevre (Mr. Kettner), Kim Shaw (Katie McCleish), Jasika Nicole (Wendy), Andrew Daly (Mr. Fuller), Sharon Maughan (Mrs. McCleish), Trevor Eve (Mr. McCleish)

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2010 looks like a breakout year for Jay Baruchel. He voiced the lead character in DreamWorks' word-of-mouth blockbuster How to Train Your Dragon and he'll soon be seen as Nicolas Cage's titular protιgι in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced summer spectacle The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Shortly before those, Baruchel starred in She's Out of My League, a raunchy R-rated comedy of Judd Apatow proportions.

Apatow actually had nothing to do with this film, but assuming otherwise is understandable because Baruchel has been part of the director-producer's clique since playing the lead role on his short-lived 2001 college sitcom "Undeclared." Baruchel's current rise resembles those experienced by his "Undeclared" and Knocked Up castmates Seth Rogen and Jason Segel, who grew from supporting roles in Apatow's films to leading men and screenwriters. But again, I remind you that She's Out of My League is not Apatow's handiwork. And watching the film, you can tell that.

"She's Out of My League" pairs pretty party planner Molly (Alice Eve) with gangly TSA worker Kirk (Jay Baruchel) and sees if it can't work out.

Baruchel plays Kirk Kettner, a twentysomething Pittsburgh airport security worker. One day, he retrieves the lost iPhone of attractive young passenger Molly McCleish (Alice Eve). She's more than grateful for the reunion and, before he even realizes it, Kirk is on a quasi-date with the woman who inspires the titular phrase. He can't believe that she,
a rich, busty, worldly lawyer-turned-event planner would have any interest in a nerdy, wiry college dropout like himself.

Nor can anyone else. The pairing elicits an assortment of reactions, from disbelief to laughter to jealousy. Kirk's co-worker friends, with whom he spends most of his time, have different perspectives on the unlikely relationship, but each suspects that it can't last. Again and again, Kirk and Molly's prospects are pontificated and doubted. Everyone is pretty hung up on the gap separating them (in looks more than success), Kirk most of all.

A romantic comedy for and by men, She's Out of My League follows the male's fantasy coupling through as obstacles arise and self-doubt lingers. The movie is overly confident in the notion that everyone has a attractiveness rating from 1 to 10 and that Kirk (a "5") has no shot with Molly (a "10"). It grips steadfastly to this scale while trying to defy it, rather than developing the relationship in a realistic or three-dimensional fashion.

Kirk (Jay Baruchel) grabs relationship advice from his three friends (T.J. Miller, Nate Torrence, Mike Vogel), whose expertise can be questioned. Here, the four airport workers enjoy a luggage conveyor ride.

Written by Sean Anders and John Morris, the duo behind the flop Sex Drive and more acquitted Hot Tub Time Machine, the script would much rather go for laughs. And it gets some, but fewer than it tries for. Raciness is an insufficient substitute for humor, a fact the film forgets from time to time. It can't resist a gross bodily fluids gag, which it somehow builds into one of the most significant plot points. It also errs in an extended genital-grooming sequence (at least we're spared sights more graphic than multiple looks at Kirk's butt).

I could tolerate that kind of crude humor if it was funnier or surrounded by enough cleverness. We all know that filthy off-color jokes fly in Apatow's films without them earning dismissal. Where She's Out of My League really rubbed me wrong was in Kirk's family and friends. They're immature and obnoxious, but also, less intentionally, they're completely unlikable. The discourse emanating from these blunt personalities does not supply amusement or lend sympathy to our lead. From his violently hostile brother (Kyle Bornheimer) to the supposed sage (T.J. Miller) in a Hall & Oates tribute band, they're just unpleasant. The one decent guy -- chaste, earnest, married Devon (Nate Torrence), whose references to animated Disney films from his childhood are almost hilarious (but just a touch inauthentic) -- is painted to be the joke of the group.

Surprisingly, for such a guy-friendly production, the female characters fare better, namely Molly's humorously acrid best friend Patty (Krysten Ritter) and Kirk's ex (Lindsay Sloane), who's now closer to his family than he is. It may just be that the actresses do more interesting things with the parts.

Stripped down to their underwear, Kirk (Jay Baruchel) can't help but notice the difference between his and Molly's (Alice Eve) physiques. The final act of the film leaves Kirk (Jay Baruchel), as his bright yellow sweatshirt says, Branson Bound!, alongside ex-girlfriend Marnie (Lindsay Sloane).

I would have liked to see Kirk and Molly in a different movie, one that had a few more ideas and gave him different friends and family. As it stands, League makes for a passable feature directorial debut for British comedy writer Jim Field Smith. And an okay showcase for likable Baruchel's unpretentious acting, which should land him more work. While she struggles with an American accent, Eve does alright too, although she should make sure her next film doesn't rely as heavily on overstating her beauty.

For not featuring any household names, the film performed decently at the box office, clearing its modest reported budget after two weekends and turning a reasonable profit thenceforth. One of the final live-action DreamWorks Pictures distributed by Paramount, She's Out of My League comes to DVD and Blu-ray next Tuesday, each preserving the R-rated theatrical cut.

Buy She's Out of My League on DVD from Amazon.com DVD Details

2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Closed Captioned; Video Extras Captioned and Subtitled
Release Date: June 22, 2010
Suggested Retail Price: $29.98
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on Blu-ray Disc
2 Weeks Free - Blockbuster

Clip from She's Out of My League:

VIDEO and AUDIO

The picture is perfectly clean and sharp in the DVD's 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is crisp, clear, and occasionally engulfing. It's also, however, marked by steep music peaks in the pop tunes it regularly samples (full list at the bottom of the page), requiring a remote in hand if you're watching this late at night as I did.

An Easter egg of sorts, you'll have to let the end credits roll to see this short video somewhat tackily assigning 1-10 scores to young couples leaving a screening. Devon (Nate Torrence) and Kirk's brother Dylan (Kyle Bornheimer) clash on "Devon's Dating Show!."

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

The first bonus feature isn't available from the menu, instead simply playing after the film's end credits. "Get Rated" is a short video (1:45) that attaches scores to and gathers comments from young couples leaving a screening. It's pretty stupid.

Next up is an audio commentary by director Jim Field Smith.
He shares trivial facts about production, from filming in an actual airport to using a butt double with the same name as a different character in the scene. Field Smith points out little details, reshoots, used outtakes, and bits fleshed out in shooting. He also commits the faux pas of mentioning a deleted scene not preserved on the DVD. Less enthusiastic than you'd expect for a first-timer, the director understandably runs out of things to say about halfway in. That renders the track a chore not worth your time; some cast members on hand would have helped, because he shouldn't have been left on his own.

The potential fun of "Devon's Dating Show!" (7:27) is squashed because Nate Torrence's winningly sweet character is overshadowed by his brutish guest Dylan (Kyle Bornheimer), who predictably and crudely second-guesses all the old-fashioned romantic advice dispatched.

Alternate Patty barbs are presented in the Blooper Reel. This isn't the first romantic comedy to cast Krysten Ritter as the girl's best friend, but it is the first  to do it this colorfully. Kirk and Molly enjoy a bowling alley snuggle on the DVD's animated main menu.

Five short deleted scenes (3:32) add little to existing bits, although two of what would have been Mike Vogel's most prominent jokes are among the insignificant casualties. Field Smith offers commentary on these, but says nothing that couldn't be surmised.

Besides the usual actor crack-ups, the Blooper Reel (6:19) shows us unused alternate lines, revealing the film to have used more Apatovian improvisation than you'd expect.

"Previews" adds letterboxed trailers for The Cry of the Owl and The LXD to the disc-loading ones for The Last Airbender and Shutter Island.

The DVD's main menu shuffles through numbers and pictures to illustrate the film's "10 + 5" conceit.

Kirk (Jay Baruchel) takes his brotherly basement hockey game seriously and he's not the only one. At an air show she's planned, Molly (Alice Eve) listens to Kirk explain the awkward first impression he made on her family.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Take away the racy humor and male point of view and She's Out of My League is not that much different than an average romantic comedy. This is certainly an entertaining movie, but one that doesn't reach its full story and humor potential. Jay Baruchel deserves a better starring vehicle and better male support. (Having recently revisited the brief but inspired "Undeclared" run, I can't help but notice how much stronger and funnier a group dynamic emerged around Baruchel there and in his prior supporting film work too.) Still, a prominent leading role in a profitable, alright movie should serve him well.

The Paramount DVD delivers a fine feature presentation (uneven soundtrack levels and all) and adequate bonus features. Aspiring to Apatow but not hitting the mark, She's Out of My League deserves a look, perhaps as a guy's choice to counter a girlier romcom.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com / Buy on Blu-ray from Amazon.com

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Jay Baruchel: Tropic Thunder • Knocked Up • Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Say Anything... (20th Anniversary) • I Love You, Man • Superbad • Adventureland • Funny People • Step Brothers



The Supporting Cast of She's Out of My League:
T.J. Miller & Mike Vogel:
Cloverfield | T.J. Miller: Extract | Nate Torrence: Get Smart
Lindsay Sloane: Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: The Second Season • Over Her Dead Body • The TV Set
Krysten Ritter: Confessions of a Shopaholic • Breaking Bad: The Complete Second Season | Andrew Daly: Semi-Pro
Andrew Daly & Nate Torrence: Reno 911!: The Complete Fifth Season | Hayes MacArthur: The Game Plan
Debra Jo Rupp: Kickin' It Old Skool • Teacher's Pet • Big (Extended Edition) | Adam LeFevre: College Road Trip
Kim Shaw: Did You Hear About the Morgans? | Geoff Stults: October Road: The Complete First Season

She's Out of My League Songs List (in order of use): Pop Levi - "Wannamama", King Juju - "Doin' My Thing", The Deekompressors - "Say What You Want", Cosmic Ballroom - "Happy Drunk (Pigmix)", The Fratellis - "Chelsea Dagger", The Fray - "Over My Head (Cable Car)", All Systems Go! - "Something About You", Kansas - "Carry On Wayward Son", The 88 - "Coming Home", Bronwen Exter - "Trust What You Feel", Loverboy - "Hot Girls in Love", Sara Bareilles - "Many the Miles", Bill Withers - "Use Me", My Federation - "What Gods Are These", Tal Bachman - "She's So High", Airbourne - "Diamond in the Rough", T.J. Miller & Adam Tomei - "Everytime You Go Away", T.J. Miller & Adam Tomei - "Kiss On My List"; Newton Faulkner - "Dream Catch Me", Black Kids - "I've Underestimated My Charms (Again)", Jet - "Cold Hard Bitch", Mink - "Untouchable", James Morrison - "Undiscovered", "Beauty and the Beast"

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Reviewed June 18, 2010.



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