“She’s Out Of My League,” directed by Jim Field Smith, written by Sean Anders and John Morris, feels like a food fight between the cheerleaders and the nerds in a high school cafeteria. It’s weak premise serves up cliché heaped upon cliché dragged mercilessly on. Why wouldn’t that hockey puck hit the guy in the nuts? Why wouldn’t the hapless dork prematurely ejaculate before he barely got to first base? Why wouldn’t the never-left-homers have a rating system for women and themselves that stipulates a dude can’t date anyone who’s two or more notches higher on the Babe-raham Lincoln scale? Why wouldn’t the guy’s white trash family head to Branston for a vacation? Why wouldn’t a group of misfits be the first line of security at the Pittsburgh airport? Why why why?
What makes the movie barely sustainable is the spirited acting of its two leads, Kirk (Jay Baruchel) and Molly (Alice Eve). Kirk, an officer for the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) is the avatar for loser. Though he’s gawky, scrawny like a scarecrow, insecure about his looks, his life, and his future prospects, he’s a enough decent guy. He’s not creepy, he’s well-intentioned if mal-adroit. He hangs with a posse that ride each other ragged: they drink beer, they bowl, they talk about women and their relative lack of success therewith. So consistently does Baruchel resonate with that Nowhere Man vibe that you can identify with him; more so when his girlfriend, Marnie (Lindsay Sloane) leaves him.
Then Kirk meets Molly, an event planner. Eve nails the role of an educated, successful entrepreneur with a wicked sense of humor. Screw the numbers, she’s gorgeous not just Ken and Barbie cute. She’s just had her heart broken as well and, when he returns the iPhone she left behind in a security checkpoint cannister, things, as unlikely as it seems, begin to take off. Molly radiates wholesomeness, is good-natured, isn’t stuck up, much and is nonjudgmental towards geeks.
The movie’s meant to show beauty is only skin deep; that you can’t quantify appearances (hotties at one end, notties at the other) because, as the movie shows, unless you make the effort to get to know someone, you can’t take their character into consideration. And unless you get to know them, hottie or not, you don’t know, for instance, about their own issues of insecurity and low self-esteem. The movie flirts with this potentially ripe subject issue – making it the grist of a romantic comedy is inspired, if it could be pulled off. But it’s not a feel-good, comical love story. The burgeoning romance scenes are effective but then Smith loses credibility when he pulls strings already frayed to get cheap laughs. He injects shtick that could possibly make us laugh but which do nothing to advance the story. Molly mentions poolside that she’s gone commando under that sundress. So? A way-too-effeminate married guy shaves Kirk’s scrotum. Yeah? None of the humorous scenes contributes significantly to a film billed as a romantic comedy but unfortunately is not romantic and is not funny.