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
Running time: 1:23