Kirk (Jay Baruchel) is a well-meaning, if slightly dorkish, airport security guard. He is, according to his pals Stainer (T.J. Miller), Jack (Mike Vogel) and Devon (Nate Torrence), at best a five and can only move two notches about that figure in his dating life. Reeling from a messy break-up, he meets stunning events organiser Molly (Alice Eve). She's "a hard 10", but surprisingly takes a shine to Kirk. That provides the dramatic dilemma of debutant Jim Field Smith's movie, as Kirk grapples with self-esteem issues so that he can be with the girl who's out of his league (natch!).
League is a film that takes an age to get started. The opening scenes clumsily set up the story and explain Kirk's predicament with his temperamental ex Marnie (Lindsay Sloane). Much of this is terribly unfunny, in particular the exchanges with Marnie's new boyfriend and his family which essentially amounts to bullying. Fortunately, it's not long before the film finds its groove as a Judd Apatowian comedy about a less-than-alpha-male, his best mates and his knockout girlfriend. League operates comfortably above the 'Sub Apatow' flicks that have invaded cinemas over the last few years (Observe And Report's Jody Hill is the worst offender) thanks to a collection of heartfelt and honest performances from the cast of appealing stars.
Baruchel, a fidgety and nervous presence, strikes up the crucial chemistry that's required to make Kirk's relationship with Eve's Molly work. Molly herself is a well-drawn character, filled with a few insecurities of her own (and one odd physical deformity) and appreciating Kirk for the humour and sweetness he can offer above the machismo and status he can't. Their pairing is a stretch in believability for sure, but Baruchel and Eve never come across as anything other than genuine.
League falters somewhat when it veers off into crude comedy. Handled right, base humour can be devastatingly effective (see: South Park, The Hangover), but here it all becomes a bit muddled between making telling points about relationships and American Pie hijinks. A sequence of "manscaping" and a Kirk's premature arrival appear to have landed from Sex Drive and jar a bit with the rest of the film. Ultimately, though, it's fast, frequently funny and isn't a chore to watch. Measured on its own dating scale, She's Out Of My League is a solid six with room to climb higher.
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