They Came Together
Michael Showalter and David Wain are like the Zucker Brothers of this generation. Their "Wet Hot American Summer" was a whacky spoof that mocked a variety of genres in over-the-top and clever ways. Their latest, called "They Came Together," is a spot-on parody of every romantic comedy cliche ever put on screen, and it's brilliantly funny.
Starring Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, the film opens with two couples in New York having dinner in that typically sparkle-lit restaurant that only exists in the movies. They banter about cliche-ridden New York things and make the typical rom-com comments about their beloved city: "Only in New York!" But then couple Kyle and Karen (Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper) ask how Joel and Molly (Rudd and Poehler) met. Well, they smile and admit it's like an over-the-top romantic movie -- and proceed to tell the tale.
The writers hit the typical points: Molly is the adorable charmer, with a pre-teen kid that only appears when needed. She owns her own klutzy and charming candy shop that she dreamed of owning as a child, and where all of the profits go to charity, (although later she tells a young customer that everything is free). It's a gloriously over-the-top send-up of the adorable do-gooder that is going to get zeroed in on by a big corporate bad guy. That guy is none other than Joel, who is a bigwig at a huge Candy Conglomerate that is being built right across the street. Of course the two will meet, hate each other, then fall in love, all in a zany "Sleepless in Seattle," "When Harry Met Sally," "You've Got Mail" fashion.
Suffice to say that Showalter and Wain hit every possible nail on the head possible, while still utilizing their specific brand of nuttiness. Many times it's typical parody that the entire cast plays perfectly. But it also has moments of utter silliness that harken back to the Zucker Brothers' "Airplane" and "Naked Gun."
It's hard to talk about this 83-minute film because giving any jokes away takes the pleasure out of it. There are those that might not totally understand what Wain and Showalter are doing, as it's a specific brand of comedy that might not hit everyone's funny bone. To be fair, a few jokes fall flat; but, for the most part, it's a constant giggle-fest and even sent this reviewer into fits of crying laughter. (Watch for the "You can say that again" scene.)
I'm not sure why Lionsgate decided to put this film into limited release and on VOD the same day. This has the potential to be a breakout summer hit. The entire cast is recognizable, and had they advertised it as "By the people that brought you 'Wet Hot American Summer,' " it should have scored at the box office. But, lucky for you, you can watch it ASAP in the comfort of your own home and chuckle your night away.
"You can say that again."