Great acting, direction and a strong storyline make for a great time in director Jim Field Smith's She's Out of My League. Upon first seeing the trailers and advertisements for the romantic comedy, I recall having rolled my eyes at the many times-done plot line of Average Joe/Geek-conquers-heart of Hot Babe. She's Out of My League however, is unique enough to stand on its own and I was pleasantly surprised.
Canadian actor Jay Baruchel plays Kirk, an awkward, modest and all-around-nice guy who works as an airport passenger scan terminal clerk. By chance one day, he runs into gorgeous Event Planner Molly (Alice Eve) in a rush to catch her flight. After Kirk's pervy boss tries purposely to delay Molly's scan as he admires her beauty, he interjects and helps her on her way. She forgets her iPhone though at the Scanning Station and Kirk has to return it to her. They coordinate a meet-up and from there the sparks start to fly between the odd couple. Pretty implausible, but Sean Anders/John Morris' script makes it all work fine with fully-fleshed dialogue and richly developed characters.
Things aren't smooth sailing for Kirk and Molly though. Kirk's family and friends constantly do and say things to reinforce how Molly simply is "out of his league". Kirk's supportive friends rate him a "Five" and Molly a "Hard Ten" on that proverbial Scale of Ten and the constant see-sawing of defeating Kirk with belittling and the sweet victories he earns as we see how Molly is genuinely into him, pretty much drives the entire film. The fact of the matter though is that the lovers come from two completely different worlds and we are curious to see whether or not their lifestyle differences are enough to tear them apart.
Along the way, the resurfacing of Molly's arrogant but undeniably strapping ex-boyfriend Cam (Geoff Stults) poses a threat to Kirk. Marnie (Lindsay Sloane) plays Kirk's trashy ex-girlfriend and pays a karmic price for dumping Kirk after seeing him much happier with his sweeter and appealing girlfriend Molly. This just makes her want Kirk even more and we get a few good laughs at her desperate expense.
Although Baruchel and Eve are an endearing on-screen pairing, it is the supporting cast (mostly television actors) of friends and family who deliver the fun in She's Out of My League. Krysten Ritter as Patty is great as Molly's no-nonsense voice of reason and confidante. Nate Torrence (Devon), Mike Vogel (Jack) and T. J. Miller (Stainer) as Kirk's loyal best friends are wonderfully funny. In one scene, Torrence is so loyal as to get on his knees and perform a bit of Manscaping on Kirk's manhood to prepare him for his first night of lovemaking with Molly.
Although the hero and heroine of this story are put through the ringer by societal push and pull, we want very much to see them together after all is said and done and this is how we know this film has set out to do what it aims to do. Jay Baruchel quickly is becoming one of my favourite new actors in Hollywood, after having dazzled in animated feature How To Train Your Dragon. It is exciting to follow his very promising career possibly as the Tom Hanks of his generation. Dreamworks' She's Out of My League is now in wide release. Grade: B+