They Came Together
They Came Together is an unapologetic parody that does for romantic comedies exactly what Airplane! did for disaster movies. Feature-length film parodies have been given a bad name of late, with the likes of Scary Movie 5 and Vampires Suck seemingly cornering the market, but David Wain’s knowing poke at the lovey dovey genre, has enough good gags to pull away from the rest of the crowd.
The plot is brilliantly formulaic. Molly (Amy Poehler) is the lovable, ditsy owner of a quirky sweet shop, while Joel (Paul Rudd) works for a large corporation bent on closing down Molly’s shop. When the pair finally meet, they hate each other, but…well you can pretty much guess the rest, and that’s kind of the point. The sole purpose of the plot in They Came Together is to get you from joke to joke, and it does this admirably.
The film is framed by a conversation over dinner with another couple played by Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper, and if you’re thinking that the cast is beginning to sound a little on the incestuous side, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The film is a veritable who’s who of Saturday Night Live Stars, Apatow disciples and actors from every sitcom under the sun.
The jokes don’t always hit, but to say that they are uneven would be going too far. Most of the humour derives from the worst sins of the romantic comedy genre, whether that’s a visual gag, in the form of a ridiculous zoom into Rudd’s face, or the hilariously terrible exposition that occurs throughout. The film relies on the audience having seen their fair share of romantic comedies, but if you can jump that hurdle, and don’t get too hung up on the fact that the film is basically one gag stretched over 90 minutes, there’s plenty of fun to be had.
The film’s main issue is what had to be sacrificed in order to create the ultimate romcom parody. Characters are hilariously two dimensional and the plot is amusingly predictable, but the unfortunate side effect is that They Came Together doesn’t quite hold together. It might seem like a small complaint, in a film that’s clearly going for out and out comedy, but without an emotional backdrop of any kind, it’s likely you’ll forget about it before the end of the year.
Joe Manners Lewis
They Came Together is released nationwide on 5th September 2014.
Watch the trailer for They Came Together here: