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She's Out of My League

The new rom-com She's Out of My League requires a pretty hefty suspension of belief, asking us to believe that a goddess like Alice Eve would not only be attracted to the fidgety schlub played by Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder, How to Train Your Dragon), but that she would aggressively pursue him, tolerate his erratic and often bizarre behavior, and endure the ceaseless taunts of his incredulous social circle while never exhibiting obvious symptoms of some brain-eating third-world disease. Moreover, it asks us to believe that Baruchel can carry a film. And frankly, that's just too much to ask.

Insecure, socially awkward Kirk's (Baruchel) list of girl-repellant qualities reads like a recipe for permanent celibacy: He works a boring job, never went to college, lives with his parents, possesses no visible muscle tone to speak of, and is constantly ridiculed by his family and friends. Despite all this, the charming, smoking hot career girl Molly (Eve) is instantly smitten when she meets him while passing through airport security (he's a TSA agent), and decides to ask him out.

Thus begins the unlikely courtship of Kirk and Molly. As he winces and stammers through a series of awkward dates, her attraction inexplicably grows, but it never quite makes sense to anyone else, and the film becomes a matter of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Kirk's friends — and Kirk himself, for that matter — wonder aloud how such a phenomenon could occur, as do we. Perhaps Molly is a fugitive terror suspect, or belongs to a freaky sex cult, or possesses an extra appendage that spews battery acid; or, maybe Kirk is a really a Good Will Hunting-esque math genius, or the inventor of the world's first perpetual motion machine, or a freakishly skilled lover who just needed the right girl to bring out his innate talents.

But there is no other shoe. Clearly, director Jim Field Smith wants to avoid the lame plot devices list above, variants of which have littered countless prior rom-coms. It's a noble strategy, and it might have worked, too, if She's Out of My League were funnier than it is. But the film never quite delivers the payoffs that its various comic scenarios promise, yielding a few chuckles but rarely anything beyond that, and Baruchel is never as witty or charming as the filmmakers would like us to believe. He's certainly a solid supporting player, but he isn't quite ready for the big leagues yet. rated this film 2 stars.