They Came Together

They Came Together

In "They Came Together," a sloppy, fitfully funny broadside at the romantic comedy, the director David Wain goes after that oft-abused genre with a metaphoric jackhammer — as well as a bat, a machete, a couple of knives, one or two missiles and the sort of sizzling cartoon bomb that Wile E. Coyote used to hurl. Mr. Wain has some expert help with his demolition work, namely his stars, Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, who with another dozen or so cutups, embody assorted romantic comedy stereotypes with wide smiles, seasoned technique and unfettered spleen.

Ms. Poehler and Mr. Rudd play Molly and Joel, a couple who, when the movie opens, are planning to split up. Tucked into a darkly lit restaurant — it shrieks candlelight and Katherine Heigl — with Kyle (Bill Hader) and Karen (Ellie Kemper), Molly and Joel recount how they met cute, fell in love and what went wrong or maybe right, not that it matters. If you've seen "You've Got Mail" (a rip-off of the peerless "Shop Around the Corner"), Molly and Joel's back stories, love lives and initial antagonisms will be familiar: She's a lonely gal who runs a tiny no-profit candy store, while he has a feckless girlfriend and works for an all-profit candy conglomerate.

Of course, Molly and Joel are destined for each other: They were written that way. And so, like clockwork or a dog-eared screenwriting manual, they meet on their way to a Halloween party for which, in an absurdist touch, each has dressed as Ben Franklin. If that sounds mildly amusing, it is, partly because, while almost anyone could squeeze laughs out of a bad bald wig, Mr. Rudd and, in particular, Ms. Poehler look endearingly silly in this get-up. Ms. Poehler's ability to let you see the vulnerability timorously lurking behind her character's self-seriousness deepens the encounter, never mind that Mr. Wain, who wrote the script with Michael Showalter, displays little interest in nuance, even as a principle of storytelling equilibrium. Mr. Wain is going for comedy overkill with a vengeance.

— Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

They Came Together

Mon February 20, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium

United States of America, 2014, in English, 83 min, DCP

Director: David Wain, Writer: David Wain, Michael Showalter, Cast: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper, Cobie Smulders



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