Plot: What’s it about?
Don’t you just hate romantic comedies? I mean seriously, most all of them end up the same, they’ve all got the same theme and are mainly carbon copies of one another. I’m sure Jennifer Aniston, Meg Ryan and Kate Hudson aren’t complaining of course, this genre has been their bread and butter for the better part of their careers. Speaking as a 40+ year old man and someone who has been out of the dating scene for nearly a decade now (marriage will do that to you), I really don’t have a lot of desire to see a romantic comedy. I don’t feel that I can really relate to what’s going on and even on the rare occasion that I do watch one, I continue to roll my eyes. So when They Came Together arrived, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The title is certainly suggestive and Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler don’t seem like the types to do a traditional romantic comedy. Add to that it was written and directed by David Wain who helmed Wet Hot American Summer, and I figured this was one worth checking out. Hilarity ensued? Let’s find out.
We meet Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler) as they’re having dinner with two friends: Karen (Ellie Kemper) and Kyle (Bill Hader). They regale the two of how they met as we see in flashback form.
But wait…something’s a bit off.
It took me a few minutes to figure out that this was a satire and actually making fun of the romantic comedy genre. Yes! As the story continues, we learn that Joel is an executive for a massive candy conglomerate and Molly owns a too cute store that sells, you guessed it, candy. The two don’t hit it off but then conveniently bump into one another at a party. As they start to get to know one another, we see the predictable process of dating, montages of what to wear and every other predictable that we’ve seen in countless other romantic comedy films. Will Joel and Molly be able to start a life together or are they doomed?
Part of the genius of the film is that it’s mocking a genre of movie that I really can’t stand. It’s the same sort of humor that made films like Airplane!, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein such successes – why make what’s already been done when you can make fun of it? And that’s exactly what’s been done here. If you’re a fan of television shows like Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock or The Office, you’ll be right at home here. There’s a veritable who’s who of those three shows sprinkled in this cast. Clearly the intent (other than to mock the genre) was to try and re-create the success of Wet Hot American Summer and in a way it succeeded, as that film set the bar pretty high. The ensemble cast, particularly Christopher Meloni, makes this film work on all levels and I’ve a new appreciation for both Poehler and Rudd. Recommended.
Video: How’s it look?
As expected, the 1.78:1 AVC HD image looks every bit as good as I thought it would. Romantic comedies are generally bursting with color, everything is bright, shiny, clean and easy on the eyes. Of course, this was the intent with this film as well and even though it’s lampooning the genre, it still carries with it the bright and vivid color palette. Detail is spot on, we can see the forehead wrinkles in Paul Rudd and the tiny laugh lines in Poehler’s face. I saw no issues with the black levels and contrast was strong and bold. Lionsgate has done a fine job with this presentation.
Audio: How’s it sound?
It’s a bit odd to see a DTS demo before the film, but it’s there and it (the film) also carries with it a DTS HD Master Audio track. Again, the genre somewhat dictates that the music is soft, whimsical and playful. This is. Vocals are on the money, strong and well-centered and surrounds, though used sparingly, do add a bit of depth to some of the selected scenes. The score is a bit sparse at times, but does the job and the front stage handles the rest of the mix with no trouble at all.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Sporting a nice array of supplements, They Came Together makes a fine addition to your collection (if you plan to purchase it, that is). Let’s take a look at what’s included.
- Audio Commentary – Writer/Director David Wain and Producer/Co-Writer Michael Showalter combine for a pretty tongue in cheek track that’s nearly as good as the film itself. We learn of the casting process, the inspiration for the story and various little tidbits that make the movie that much more enjoyable. A highly recommended listen.
- They All Came Together – We get some interviews with the main cast members as they discuss their motivations for doing the film and re-teaming with some of the cast from Wet Hot American Summer.
- San Fransisco Sketchfest Table Read – Running at nearly two hours, this is a literal read through of the script with all the principal players in attendance.
- Deleted Scenes – Nearly 35 minutes of deleted scenes are included here and it’s amazing some of these didn’t make the final cut. With the film itself only running 83 minutes, you’d figure the could have beefed it up some.
- Theatrical Trailer