Thank God for VOD! – They Came Together

I don’t get to go to the movies as often as I’d like to, but that doesn’t mean I can’t watch awesome flicks at home. Thank God for VOD!

theycametogetherThey Came Together

And just when you thought I was all horror flicks, thrillers, blood and guts, and social commentary, here I come at you with a romantic comedy. A romcom. Or, in this instance, all of the tropes and beats of a romantic comedy completely ripped to pieces and then reassembled with a knowing smile and a wink by a killer ensemble cast and the comedic genius of a bunch of former members of The State*. They Came Together is a romantic comedy, but it’s a hyper-self-aware romantic comedy that bleeds absurdity and goes so far with its poking as to surpass satire. It’s an odd and hilarious film.

I loved it.

The post-State creative output that has been released over the last couple of decades has been somewhat of a mixed bag. There has been good stuff, not-so-good stuff, and some great stuff. Thus far, David Wain’s directorial efforts have fallen on the latter, beginning with his comedic cult classic debut Wet Hot American Summer, a pitch perfect (and at times surreal) spoof on 80’s camp movies. He soon followed that film up with an underappreciated comedy anthology about the ten commandments (The Ten), a surprise hit bromance (Role Models), and a Jennifer Aniston vehicle (Wanderlust)**. They Came Together feels like a natural progression, a parody that knows when to hold its punches and when to just let it loose, like it’s the next great sketch in some grand comedy series.

First kudos has to go the script by Wain and fellow former State (and Stella) member Michael Showalter. The two really know their romantic comedies. I don’t know if that’s ultimately a good or a bad thing, but for the film, it pays off wonderfully, with explicit nods towards romcoms like When Harry Met Sally, Jerry Maguire, and You’ve Got Mail playing alongside a virtual elbow to the ribs for each cinematic cliché therein. It’s all there: the idea of New York City as a character, the cheating girlfriend of our male protagonist, the nice-guy romantic interest who just isn’t a good match for our female protagonist, the usual crew of basketball-playing, relationship advice-giving friends, the black best friend/business partner of the female lead. And it just goes on and on…almost relentlessly, though there is an occasional break from the spoofed clichés when the film makes a hard, 180-degree turn towards random weirdness…often with no explanation or follow up. But it works. It’s like a pleasant, nonsensical reminder that you’re watching something silly and dumb.

The second round of kudos go to the excellent cast. Paul Rudd is damn near brilliant, continuing his professional acting role as the most charming and likeable, but seemingly undervalued comedic presence currently working in Hollywood. He absolutely kills it in this movie. Amy Poehler dissects her part with all the smirks, pouts, and spunk necessary, her chemistry with Rudd moving the film along beautifully. The two play off of each other so effortlessly, you have to wonder how many of their scenes were scripted and which parts were completely adlibbed. It’s a pleasure to watch the two actors work. A whole slew of folks fill in the rest of the parts, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper, Ed Helms, Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, Kenan Thompson, Jack McBrayer, Christopher Meloni, Cobie Smulders, Jason Mantzoukas, and on and on. There are even a few surprise cameos thrown in at the end. And everyone is wonderful.

Final kudos goes to the movie poster. I love the blurbs used. “The film shoots in July!” And yes, the title is a sex pun.

Watch this movie with you wife. Or your husband. Or your girlfriend. Or your boyfriend. Or with all four.

 
*I really need to write something in the future about The State. It’s my favorite sketch comedy show of all time…and I want it to be yours too.

**Full disclosure: I have never seen Wanderlust and therefore have no way of telling you if it’s worth a damn or not.

 

Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

One Response to Thank God for VOD! – They Came Together
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