“She’s Out of My League” Cast:
Jay Baruchel as Kirk
Alice Eve as Molly
T.J. Miller as Stainer
Mike Vogel as Jack
Nate Torrence as Devon
Lindsay Sloane as Marnie
Kyle Bornheimer as Dylan
Jessica St. Clair as Debbie
Krysten Ritter as Patty
Debra Jo Rupp as Mrs. Kettner
Adam LeFevre as Mr. Kettner
Kim Shaw as Katie
Jasika Nicole as Wendy
Geoff Stults as Cam
Hayes MacArthur as Ron
Directed by Jim Field Smith
“Our Family Wedding” Cast:
Forest Whitaker as Brad Boyd
America Ferrera as Lucia Ramirez
Carlos Mencia as Miguel Ramirez
Regina King as Angela
Lance Gross as Marcus Boyd
Diana-Maria Riva as Sonia Ramirez
Lupe Ontiveros as Momma Cecilia
Anjelah N. Johnson as Isabella Ramirez
Charles Q. Murphy as T.J.
Shannyn Sossamon as Ashley McPhee
Tonita Castro as Aunt Rosita
Anna Maria Horsford as Diane Boyd
Warren Sapp as Wendell Boyd
Shondrella Avery as Keisha Boyd
Sterling Ardrey as Ardom Boyd
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa
The heart of the strongest comedies comes from out of real life situations we all can relate to, which is probably why movies like “Meet the Parents” and “There’s Something About Mary” have become so hugely popular and why so many movies have tried their best to emulate them. Here are two movies that take some of the high concept aspects of successful ensemble comedies and try to mold them into something original; neither is quite successful but at least one of them is watchable despite its problems. The other? Read on.
“She’s Out of My League” is based around the unlikely relationship between Kirk, a nerdy airport security agent played by Jay Baruchel, and the unbelievably hot blonde Molly, played by Alice Eve from “Starter for Ten.” They meet by a mere act of kindness when Kirk finds Molly’s cell phone and returns it to her; in reality, something like that would end right there rather than lead to anything else. Everyone who meets Molly is quite smitten with her, but for whatever reason, she finds Kirk funny enough to want to spend more time with him.
In “Our Family Wedding,” we’re introduced to Lucia and Marcus, played by America Ferrera and Lance Gross, a loving mixed-race couple who have decided to get married without having even told their families they’re seeing each other. They fly to Los Angeles with plans to tell them unaware that their fathers (Carlos Mencia and Forest Whitaker) have already met in an altercation involving a repossessed car being towed. Apparently, Lucia’s family also doesn’t realize she’s dating a black man, something her traditional Mexican parents might never accept. Essentially, it’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” mixed with every single clichéd wedding comedy ever made, and in that sense, it’s an equal opportunity racist film in terms of throwing out every single racial stereotype or slur possible.
Although its premise is equally simplistic, “League” has a hard time hitting the ground running, since by nature of it being so steeped in its formulaic “geek gets the girl” storyline, the predictable clichés are hard not to see coming. Beyond that, there’s an air of Farrellys at work as it delivers a number of raunchy moments that would easily fit into an “American Pie” movie, and it’s far more successful at mixing raunch with romantic moments that would allow frat boys to bring dates without them being completely offended. As mentioned above, the best humor comes from real-life situations, so things like Kirk’s over-excitement while making out with Molly and where that leads is easy to understand.
Jay Baruchel is generally likeable in the role of Kirk, but for the most part, he’s playing the straight guy and the butt of most of the jokes. Let’s just say that Alice Eve is brilliantly cast as the perfect woman, because she’s gorgeous and amicable, really making you believe she could be the type of woman who might give Kirk a chance. For the most part, it’s the characters around them who make the movie, including Nate Torrence, who generally steals every scene as Kirk’s portly and slightly effeminate friend Devon. One might think he would have even worse luck with women but is in fact married with women chasing after him. Likewise, Krysten Ritter pulls off a great deadpan delivery somewhere between Emily Blunt and Parker Posey, bringing a lot to her scenes. On the other hand, Lindsay Sloane’s completely over-the-top delivery as Kirk’s ex-girlfriend Marnie–frankly, I can’t even believe SHE would go out with him–kills many a scene, most of them involving Kirk’s dysfunctional family.
Some of those bits with Kirk’s family do offer genuinely familiar laughs, though some of those jokes are often played to the point where they’re no longer funny. Still, those scenes are generally funnier than anything in “Our Family Wedding,” being that it’s based entirely around it being a family comedy while it plays just a small part in “League.” Even so, director Rick Famuyiwa tries hard to deliver comedy that might appeal to both ethnic groups without offending either which makes it far too safe to ever really be funny.
Where “Our Family Wedding” makes itself so easy to loathe are the appalling scenes between comedian Carlos Mencia and Forest Whitaker, both who seem to have been cast just to see what their respective fans might endure. Mencia when introduced seems to be acting mildly retarded, but Whitaker is just embarrassing as he tries to keep up with Mencia in their moments of verbal sparring. For some reason, they thought giving Mencia a few dramatic moments might balance that out, and sure enough, he’s just as bad at drama as Whitaker is at comedy.
Written by the guys who brought us the generally superior “Sex Drive” and the upcoming “Hot Tub Time Machine,” “League” does its best to remain character-based but where it falters are the many scenes where Kirk’s friends, played by Mike Vogel and T. J. Miller, both of “Cloverfield,” are giving him advice on how to deal with the Molly situation, most of those bits falling well below the barometer set by “American Pie.” Much of it involves long discussions about the ridiculous “ratings system” where guys and women assign a point value to the opposite sex based on looks. All of the exposition on the subject quickly gets tiring, especially if you don’t subscribe to those beliefs, because it’s merely propagating bad values. “League” also suffers from having too many ideas as it tries to give all of the characters their own subplots, which rarely works as hard as first-time director Jim Field Smith tries to make it all pay off.
At least both movies get better as they go along, but that’s not really saying much for “Our Family Wedding,” which tries to resuscitate itself with weak and short-lived drama moments in the last act. Soon enough, that drama is over and everything is back to normal, the wedding is back on and we return to the ridiculously unfunny physical humor. In this case, that would involve an awful moronic gag involving a goat on Viagra, which would probably have been too low-brow for the other movie. One of its few saving graces is Regina King as the lawyer-friend of Whitaker’s character, but the romance between the two of them seems as forced as everything else.
“She’s Out of My League” has a lot of spirit and heart, and it’s actually quite sweet at times. It only fails to really deliver because it tries to shoehorn too many ideas into one movie and not all of them work. It’s clearly the lesser of two evils though, because “Our Family Wedding” is just misguided and embarrassing for all those involved and could have easily been a segment in the atrocious “Valentine’s Day.” It’s dumb to the point of being insulting and potentially even borderline racist to part of its potential audience.
She’s Out of My League: 6 out of 10
Our Family Wedding: 4 out of 10