“They Came Together” sets itself up to be a parody of the romantic comedy genre with extremely dated comedy that never seems to quite ”come together” until the brutal end — and that’s on purpose.
Watching this film takes you back to the 90s, when films like ‘There’s Something about Mary’ were all the rage, but the nostalgia feeling just makes you want to switch movies rather than remember the silliness of those films. The film plays on a ‘You’ve Got Mail’ vibe, but isn’t nearly as funny or sweet. That’s the biggest problem with this film. It’s supposed to make fun of the absurdities of romantic comedies, but none of the jokes are funny enough to make you feel like it’s pointing anything out. As you go through the movie you start to feel like you’re just watching a really bad rom-com.
‘They Came Together” stars Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd — two really funny comedic actors that probably should have never been paired as they have no romantic chemistry, even in a romantic spoof type film. Poehler stars as Molly, an over the top goofy candy store entrepreneur who is single and not so eager to join the dating pool (and you’ll see why) and Rudd as Joel, an executive at a major candy corporation who recently became single after being cheated on by his non-committal girlfriend Tiffany (played by Cobie Smulders).
The film plays in story form by placing our characters on a double date where they cheesily explain to their friends how they met and ended up dating each other. So the story begins with a flashback (no spoilers, I promise) of a Halloween party where Molly and Joel’s friends had set them up on a blind date, yet they randomly meet on the street and end up hating each others guts, but secretly finding each other irresistible — as it plays out at the party.
Main characters Molly and Joel joyfully tell the tale to a bored married couple, played by Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper, whose comedic chops complimented our leads very well.
The film only being 83 minutes long feels like it takes a lifetime to get funny and on track as most jokes are for the moment versus having any bearing on the plot, typical parody style. There’s even a point in the story where “the oh so graphic,” and sometimes uncomfortable tale, grows tired to the point where even their dinner guests tried to leave (as I am feeling most audiences will want to do within the first 40 minutes).
Don’t get me wrong, the movie does deliver laughs, especially since the film is loaded with cameos from top comedians who perform the SNL-like material with ease. Faring better than most in the laughs department, was well-known dramatic actor Christopher Meloni, most recognized for the NBC drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Meloni reconnects with director David Wain, Poehler and Rudd, who he worked with on the film ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ (2001), another Wain comedy, to create a character that truly stands out. In the film, Meloni re-tackles his comedic funny bone as Joel’s over the top, money-hungry boss, which was a nice welcome as his character’s embarrassing antics in the film by far gave the most laughs.
Overall, this film deserves a C as some scenes work and others don’t. If you like the actors in it you may enjoy it because of their charisma alone, but if you don’t, then stay far away from this film — as bits with idiomatic expressions like “you can say that again” will probably frustrate you rather than make you laugh.
‘They Came Together’ opens June 27th, in Limited Release.
Director: David Wain
Writers: Michael Showalter & David Wain.
Starring: Paul Rudd & Amy Poehler.