Director: David Wain
Writers: Michael Showalter and David Wain
Cast: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Cobie Smulders, Max Greenfield, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper, Melanie Lynskey, Ed Helms, Christopher Meloni, Michael Shannon, John Stamos and Jason Mantzoukas as Not Rafi
“They Came Together” has to be one of my favorite comedies of the last decade. I know that tossing that kind of hyperbole at the start of a review isn’t ideal, but you guys need to know how much I love this film. I love “They Came Together” so much that I wish it would’ve been brutally serious and missed the point of the satire. Whether it’s an in-film Norah Jones music video or a forced cute kid scene about Pokémon knowledge, David Wain shows that he is a master that understands what’s happening here. That’s not to undersell Michael Showalter. We covered some short films that Showalter did in the last year and his creative stamp is all over this film.
Romantic comedies are ripe for parody. But, it’s a sort of parody that’s done with the ham-fisted approach of a differently abled butcher trying to stick four fingers inside of some Black Angus. The material covered is incredibly easy for comedy, which might make this film seem like a limp attempt from such masters of improv comedy. However, there is something magical and frantic about the pacing at which the hits come. Whether it’s a mass shooting, ditching a dead body or having to listen to your loved one get her lady business pounded by a guy that used to voice the Pets.com sock puppet dog.
While the film is nowhere on the level of “Wet Hot American Summer”, it maintains that same loving sense of playing with film subgenres. The depth of knowledge, casting and ability to play with decency always provides for a few chuckles. I appreciate the effort to bring new actors into the Wain troupe, but not everyone seems onboard with the material. Wain wisely knows to just use Norah Jones and John Stamos for some meta humor. However, the basketball friends of Rudd seem lost at times.
That being said, there’s something about this film that just makes me jealous as hell. I respect when a creative team can produce a film out of trying measures. But, when you can smack an easy lob out of the park and make it look so groundbreaking, I’m floored. Kudos to Wain, Showalter and company for making me remember why I used to go out of my way to makes VHS copies of “The State” episodes for friends 20 years ago. I couldn’t sell them on “Viva Variety”, but you take what you can get.
RELEASE DATE: 06/27/2014