sun 25/08/2019

Sundance London 2014: They Came Together | reviews, news & interviews

Sundance London 2014: They Came Together

Sundance London 2014: They Came Together

Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler are sadly squandered in this uninspired rom-com spoof

They came together, with less than hilarious results: the usually reliable Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler

It might be putting it bluntly, but hell - American rom-coms didn't always suck. The screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s made bickering artful and aspirational and Woody Allen added his own neurotic spin in the 70s. Now the commercial end of the genre makes fools of us all with its desperate women, bland men and rigid, asinine formula. These films are an insult to the intelligent, ambitious or independent, and are at best a guilty pleasure.

Modern rom-coms might be a joke but unfortunately they're not a joke with legs, as David Wain's Scary Movie-esque spoof They Came Together shows us over 83, largely excruciating, minutes. In what should have been a match made in comedy heaven Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler star as Joel and Molly, a couple who recount the story of their courtship during dinner with friends. It's immediately clear this will be served with big dollops of meta; "It's a kind-of corny romantic comedy," Joel weakly laughs. Oh, brother.

To its credit They Came Together feels comprehensive in its coverage of every rom-com cliché from the last 25 years but that makes it a pretty tedious watch as it's all far too familiar, not particularly biting in its ridicule and without any real identity and tension of its own. Like so many spoofs, Wain's fifth feature is stronger when it diverts off into more surreal territory (rather than simply observing the multitude of failings of a genre that it is after all emulating). Also, thanks in main to the considerable comedic talent of its leads, some of the cruder jokes might raise the occasional guilty guffaw - and these at least act as a welcome release from the more convoluted set-ups that fall flat.

A late in the day appearance by the mighty Michael Shannon (who arrives screaming as if he's been forced to watch this several times himself) isn't enough to save a film that feels pretty redundant from the off. With targets this obvious it's like shooting fish in a barrel, with a bazooka.

Comments

Unfortunately, I don't agree with you here. It felt more like a 'Naked Gun' style of film where it parodied the genre, rather than 'Scary Movie' whereby it goes for a play by play of individual movies. It was ridiculous, dumb and easy to watch. The cast was great too. I can understand where some would find it tedious, particularly as it wandered between actually trying to add some substance and outright stupidity, but on the whole I found it a good film with really funny moments. Exactly as I expected, and would definitely recommend.

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