Saturday, March 25, 2017

Movie Review: "They Came Together" (2014)

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Movie"They Came Together"
Director: David Wain
Year: 2014
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 23 minutes

While out to dinner with their friends Karen (Ellie Kemper) and Kyle (Bill Hader), Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler) recant their bizarre and out-of-the-ordinary relationship, starting with how they met and initially hated each other. Kyle works for a major candy corporation and Molly owns a small mom and pop candy shop, which was her dream, and the one Kyle's company wants to destroy.

The first thing you need to know about "They Came Together" is that it is a parody/spoof. We did not know this going in, but it is very apparent about 7 minutes into its run time that its entire purpose is to make fun of the romantic comedies and dramas which came before it. When we say parody, we mean it as it's almost entirely overacted, cliche, and contrived, but in a good way, not a bad one. This movie somehow manages to be wholly hilarious in its own unique way. Amy Poehler plays Molly, who owns a small mom-and-pop candy store in New York City and has one son. Paul Rudd plays Joel, who works for a major candy corporation that wants to destroy Molly's business. Joel is hung up on his ex-girlfriend Tiffany, played by Cobie Smulders, who cheated on him with his boss. Eventually, Molly and Joel form an unlikely relationship initially built on hatred. They wind up at the same events and with the same circle of friends, despising one another outwardly to the world, but their hatred eventually leads to love as they begin a relationship with one another. Not as solid as they think they are, they break up about halfway through the movie in an unexpected twist, but not really. Molly then moves on to another man in her accountant, played by Ed Helms, and promptly gets engaged to him even though she is still secretly in love with Joel. Ohhhhhh boy.

As with all indie movies, the quirkiness factor doesn't stop there as every single cliche from every movie ever is explored here as a tactic to drive the plot. It does this on purpose in an attempt to be different, and this is where the film will lose some of its viewers. Us being the weirdos that we are, we liked it! The film is basically a romantic version of the cult classic "Wet Hot American Summer," minus the summer camp, plus candy, so how much you like "They Came Together" will be directly contingent upon how little or how much you like movies of that nature. All the same people who are in "Wet Hot American Summer" even pop up in this movie in some capacity or another as well. It feels like, as a whole, it's trying to be really smart by taking everything we know about modern day rom-coms and flipping it on its head in a satirized way, though we don't know if most of the movie-going public will see it this way. In a way, the rom-com parodies are getting parodied themselves. We're really trying to stress how much of a spoof this is and we think more screenplay writers should watch this flick  to see what they should not do next time they find themselves wanting to make the next "When Harry Met Sally."

In the end, we think the premise of "They Came Together" is a borderline brilliant by using well-respected and very much beloved actors and actresses against the corporate machine of sappy, dribbling romantic comedies to create a surprisingly new, subtly embracing sarcastic, hilarious take on the genre that has made so many mistakes in the past few decades. Greatly acted, smartly written, sharp, quirky, and yet still somewhat endearing in its own right.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 69%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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