Movie Review: Poehler and Rudd riff and romp through rom-com cliches in “They Came Together

ImageAmy Poehler and Paul Rudd are such reliably funny actors that you’d be safe
betting they could perform an instruction manual and still be amusing doing

Which is kind of what “They Came Together” is, a How-to-Make-a-Romantic-Comedy primer.
Think of it as a self-aware 80 minute R-rated “Saturday Night Live” sketch —
more than a few laughs, more than a few sharp observations about the
conventions/cliches of the genre, more than a few “SNL” and”The Office” alumni
as stars or co-stars.
Molly is the “cute, kinda klutzy” one, a bubbly goof who runs a sweets shop
named “Upper Sweets Side”, a gal who can say “New York City was almost like a
boyfriend for me.”
Joel is her “just Jewish enough” date, an office drone at the “faceless, evil
conglomerate,” CSR — “Candy Systems & Research.”
And “They Came Together” is them telling the story, in long flashbacks, about
how they met in that “typical, corny, romantic comedy kind of way.” Bill Hader
and Ellie Klemper are the dinner date couple who insist hearing the tale.
The Michael Showalter, David Wain script almost blinds itself with its
knowing winks. There’s the revelation that, just as in such films as “You’ve Got
Mail” and its antecedents, Joel’s company is a threat to Molly’s shop, and
“disclosing this information was a huge turn of events.”
Kenan Thompson of “SNL” plays the one friend who urges Joel to propose to
Molly. “Being married is great. That’s the point of view I (his character)
That shtick wears thin quickly, but throw-away moments and the odd zinger
really goose this farce. Ed Helms (“The Office)” is into Molly, but also Molly’s
“You have breast cancer…corporately speaking.”
Whenever Joel’s boss (Christopher Meloni) enters a meeting, there’s a
secretary to squirt hand sanitizer into his waiting palm.
Every so often, some R-rated jolt rattles the sketch-comedy cage this is
trapped in — Joel’s acrobatic sex scene with his ex (Cobie Smulders), Molly’s
thank-you kiss to her obligatory black best friend/assistant (Teyonah Parris), a
kiss that goes on a little too long.
“Just thought I was…gettin’ a vibe.”
But Poehler and Rudd riff and banter like old marrieds, and make even the
cheesiest lines funny, make even the cliched dating montages set to syrupy pop
music feel — if not fresh and new — at least funny enough to mock.


MPAA Rating:R for language and sexual content
Cast: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Cobie Smulders, Bill Hader, Ed Helms
Credits: Directed by David Wain, written by Michael Showalter, David Wain. A
Lionsgate release.
Running time: 1:23

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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2 Responses to Movie Review: Poehler and Rudd riff and romp through rom-com cliches in “They Came Together

  1. Peter says:

    The part where Ed Helm said to Amy Poehler: “you have breast cancer corporately speaking, you have 6 months to live”; we certainly didn’t find funny in any way as my wife (as well as great deal of women) has been in a fight for her life over breast cancer and just finished her chemotherapy and radiation with the hope of stopping this horrid disease. I rented this movie thinking it would be a light-hearted comedy movie and she could forget about her diagnosis for a while, not get a horrid reminder of the fact she has cancer with a possibly similar prognosis just a few minutes into the movie. Too many casual references to cancer in too many movies, why don’t they just say someone died of natural causes or something without constantly bringing up the C word for maximum shock- value at other people’s expense. It really is insensitive to those who’ve are suffering or who have lost loved ones recently from the same.

    • This is what reviews are for. I mentioned that very line in mine. Next time, consult a review first. I may have been the only one to quote that line/gag, but I doubt it. Some people emailed in anger over the cat dying in “Inside Llewyn Davis.” It’s not the job of the artist to fret over every single potential viewer’s sensitivities.

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