MOVIE REVIEW- <i>League</i> loser: Rom-com lacks rom, com<i> </i>


Embarrassing is the word for She's Out of My League, a romantic comedy that would be offensive if it weren't so pathetic.

British writer/director/sketch comic Jim Field Smith takes the low road to American cinema as director, leaving the writing to Sean Anders and John Morris, whose Sex Drive I actually liked.

As the title implies, the subject is the rom-com staple about someone realizing an impossible romantic dream. In this case it's Jay Baruchel, a decent supporting actor who's out of his league in the lead. He plays Kirk Kettner, a wannabe pilot working as an airport security agent.

Kirk's introduced pleading with Marnie (Lindsay Sloane), who dumped him two years ago, to take him back. Since that's obviously a painted backdrop behind him, we're not surprised when it's revealed that he's just rehearsing his speech in front of a painted backdrop. His audience: his three best friends and fellow airport workers– Stainer (T.J. Miller), Devon (Nate Torrence) and Jack (Mike Vogel).

The hottie who comes into Kirk's life is Molly (Alice Eve), who has one best friend, Patty (Krysten Ritter), and a younger sister, Katie (Kim Shaw). Molly has already been a lawyer but gave it up to start an event-planning business with Patty. She's successful, living in a fancy apartment building in downtown Pittsburgh that always has a parking space available by the front door.

Molly was dumped by Cam (Geoff Stults) and is looking to replace him with someone less studly and thus presumably less likely to hurt her, when she meets Kirk. She takes the lead in starting a relationship while he just tries to keep his jaw off the floor.

Among the silly parallels that make the story more symmetrical and (if it's possible) less believable, Cam and Marnie are still close to the families of their respective exes. In fact, Marnie's been "adopted" by Kirk's family and has apparently moved her new boyfriend, Ron (Hayes MacArthur), into their house, also shared by Kirk's Neanderthal brother Dylan (Kyle Bornheimer) and his pregnant fiancée Debbie (Jessica St. Clair).

Because this is a minor-league version of a Judd Apatow movie, the guys spend a lot of time talking guy talk. Devon, who's sweetly romantic, is the only one of the group who's married, but that doesn't cut into his time with the fellows. He also crushes quite openly on Molly's friend Wendy (Jasika Nicole). When we finally meet Devon's wife, late in the movie, she's of Asian descent, because who else would be subservient to such a husband?

The men's non-support group keeps each other down by discussing how everyone is rated on a 10 scale, and no one should aspire to anyone more than two points higher than themselves. Jealous Stainer convinces Kirk he's a six and Molly's a 10. Only Devon expresses the film's ultimate message: "When someone loves you, you're a 10."

Most of the dialogue is unrelentingly crude, with more bombs (of the F variety) than The Hurt Locker. With so many attempts to be funny, of course a few of them succeed, although reactions will be mixed to the ejaculation scene and the scrotum shaving scene, both meant to revisit the hilarious highlights of There's Something about Mary.

Unlike the classic comedies where the Secretary in Love with Her Boss finally takes her glasses off and is revealed to be beautiful, Kirk never really blossoms. He's not ugly, but he's gawky and lacks confidence, and Baruchel never changes convincingly, even when the script says he does.

That script gives us little reason to believe real love develops between Molly and Kirk, and the lack of chemistry between the actors gives us even less.

She's Out of My League actually made me feel sorry for the late-20 types being (mis)represented in the movie, and sorrier still for anyone who spends money to see it.