If you’re hungry to see a romantic comedy about a genetically and culturally imbalanced geek-meets-babe relationship that makes the one in Knocked Up look like the quintessence of plausible human mating, then by all means subject yourself to the one-joke sub?Judd Apatow snark-athon that is She’s Out of My League. Kirk (Jay Baruchel), a boyish, awkward dork, has a nervous, fumbling manner, a chest as flat as an ironing board, and a voice that’s a honking, sniveling irritant; ? he’s like the son of Gilbert Gottfried crossed with a depressed snail. Molly (Alice Eve), who’s gorgeous, pert, shapely, intelligent, and free of any nasty or judgmental thoughts, is like Ann-Margret playing a very liberal nun. She is, in other words, the film’s adolescent fantasy of what a ”perfect” girl should be.
Taken as a purely sexual object (which the movie keeps pretending she’s not), Alice certainly is out of Kirk’s league. Yet when they start to date, their disjunction in looks isn’t what’s so far-fetched. It’s that he’s a socially inept underachiever who works in airport security, and she’s a high-end event planner who oozes poise and would never be drawn to such a gawky, shambling loser. Love may well conquer class divisions, but not when there’s absolutely nothing in it for the half of the couple who’s dating down.
She’s Out of My League is eager to be a latter-day Woody Allen/Revenge of the Nerds fairy tale of hormonal wish fulfillment, in which a ”funny” guy with quick-witted neurotic charm triumphs over the fact that he doesn’t look like a stud-muffin. The trouble is, no one remembered to make Kirk charming! Jay Baruchel just plays him as a stammering arrested-development case and glutton for punishment. There are moments when his misery yields some comedy: I laughed out loud at Kirk’s tortured explanation to Molly about why he couldn’t stand up to shake her father’s hand. (Imagine an untimely-boner joke, only twice as embarrassing.) And at least Kirk’s Apatow-lite circle of jerky friends (led by T.J. Miller as an entertainingly blunt horndog) offer the movie a few trash-talking breaks. When they really got going, I forgot that Kirk was even there. C