They Came Together (2014) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

They Came Together (2014) Directed by David Wain. With Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Cobie Smulders, Christopher Meloni, Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper.

they-came-together-poster-2

Getting full value out of this spoof of US rom-coms begs a level of familiarity with the genre. As a film fan (and devoted boyfriend) I have endured my fair share of formulaic, by the numbers offerings that have furnished the career of anyone that’s appeared in Friends. So many of these films play as a tick-list of elements; regular Manhattan exteriors (where else is there to fall in love!?), people with impossibly great hair, the upbeat indie-pop soundtracks (complete with montage)…the list goes on.

Directed and co-written by David Wain, They Came Together (nod-wink) aims to subvert the genre by leaning into Airplane! territory – only a modern-day version of the style. Some have called it – too smart for its own good, in the sense that it will likely catch many off-guard with its increasingly zany humour and general ridiculousness, packaged in the guise of a sentimental star-vehicle. A glance at the poster (above) immediately prompts your brain to decide exactly what you’re about to see; a conventionally cute New York tale of romance, with attractive, smart people being smart and attractive…for 90-odd mins. Subtract the word ‘conventionally’ and your’e halfway right.

The attractive, smart leads in this case are Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler – both likeable regulars of US comedy film and TV. They continue their agreeable streak here, joyfully poking fun at the conventions that plague the rom-com. The days of the outright spoof of Airplane! and Hot Shots are long gone, but since those times, the world has watched as an epidemic of throwaway rom-com’s have littered the bargain-bins of second-hand DVD stores. Go on, do an e-Bay search for Jennifer Aniston/Lopez/Garner titles now – I guarantee you; 10p with free delivery.

This boils down to being a film made for a very specific taste. Chunks of it are utterly stupid, meaning some will sit stony-faced, deciding early on that it is too daft to laugh at/with. And it’s true that once the tone is set, the joke could easily wear thin. That said, it does have a fun supporting cast of talent like Bill Hader, Christopher Meloni (man of the match) and Ed Helms propping it up along with some surprisingly frank/weird, boundary-pushing sexual humour. If you like your comedy with strong measure of irreverence, this could work for you. 3/5

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About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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5 Responses to They Came Together (2014) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. filmfunkel says:

    That’s a great review and you’re right – where other than Manhattan is there to fall in love? 😄

    • garethrhodes says:

      Thank you. If we believed everything the movies told us, that city would be the centre of the entire universe. As it happens, I’m going there for 10 days at the back end of July. Looking forward to scouting some movie locations.

  2. movieblort says:

    I cannot get enough of this movie. I saw it at Sundance UK last year and have been recommending it ever since.

    It’s really divisive though. Some people absolutely love it, some people grow really tired of it very quickly. It does feel a little dragged out towards the end, as the jokes get repetitive and a little silly, but I guess that’s part of its appeal to some.

    What I found interesting from the Q&A was how the table scenes/narration were added after the majority of the film was put together – because sample audiences couldn’t understand that this was a parody.

    I liken it more to Naked Gun style of spoof as opposed to a Scary Movie style of spoof, where the genre as a whole is parodied with spats of references. I think a lot of people I have spoken to felt disappointed that the references weren’t as obvious as perhaps Scary Movie is with theirs, but then it just becomes a play-by-play of insults.

    Glad to see you got some fun out of it anyway!

    • garethrhodes says:

      Great comment. Thank you for stopping by to share your opinion. It’s easy to accept why this kind of humour doesn’t work for everyone, but I think those who have taken against it haven’t really considered how subjective humour it. I found it fairly breezy and easy to digest. Sometimes, that’s all we’re looking for in a film. The performances were likeable and it happily passed a few hours.

      It’s great to get your insight about the making of it. I really liked the table scenes. Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper are such funny people. Did you see The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? Kemper is GREAT in that.

      • movieblort says:

        I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, but I did catch the first episode. I loved Ellie Kemper in the US Office, and Bill Hader is always a solid choice – very funny guy, great work on South Park, SNL and more recently The Skeleton Twins. I’ll be heading back to it for sure.

        David Cross was in the screening too, asked a few questions as the audience were too scared to do so, but he was mainly there to promote his film ‘Hits’ that was also showing.

        Another interesting bit, David Wain actually has a brief cameo in the film as Ed Helms’s brother (Loved his character btw, brilliant little slices of immaturity!).

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