A Film for People Who Love and Hate Rom-Coms
Chris Kavan - wrote on 09/05/14
Director David Wain is best known for his break-out comedy Wet Hot American Summer (featuring some early performances from some currently very big names: Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Amy Poehler and Elizabeth Banks). The movies was a spoof on the common coming-of-age story, taking place in a summer camp. It was pretty hilarious and over-the-top. Wain went on to direct Role Models and Wanderlust but he returns to his spoof roots in They Came Together (with some of the same cast returning).
They Came Together is essentially a more high-brow version of the awful Aaron Seltzer, Jason Friedberg - you know the "Date Movie", "Epic Movie" and whatever else they slap together and call a comedy. But They Came Together has the benefit of A) Having good actors in the roles and B) actually being funny. Granted, some of the jokes fall flat and are terrible - but, and you're talking about someone who hates rom-coms - overall it was a good effort.
Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler play the leads - she is an independent single mother running a local candy store, he is a corporate drone working for a candy corporation looking to shut her down. Both are coming out of bad relationships and, of course, their first meeting is a total disaster... until they meet up again at a book store where both realize they love "fiction" - and, oh my God, they connect! And it just gets more ridiculous from there. And the whole time they are telling their story to another couple (played by Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper), who casually comment how much they hate each other as they are forced to listen to this story.
The best part about the film for me were the running gags - the longing "thank you" look back nearly every other scene. The two-minute long bartender conversation that goes back and forth for (nearly) too long, but goes on just long enough. The Cobie Smulders reveal and the surprisingly excellent cameo from Michael Shannon and random music interlude from Norah Jones. There are also a couple of completely gross-out jokes that seem entirely out-of-place, yet still manage to work if for no other reason then... why not?
I have a feeling this was more a movie about friends hanging out with friends and just randomly piling on jokes as they went along. It's not so much laugh-out-loud hilarity as it is nod-and-wink at our clever selves. Those going in expecting a typical comedy (romantic or otherwise) experience are bound to be a bit let down. But if you view it from the angle of an improv taken to absurd levels, it's a lot of fun, even if it doesn't always hit the mark.