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DVD Review – They Came Together

3 min read

The problem with most romantic comedies is that most often you can tell what’s going to happen, sometimes before it even does. The main formula has been set in stone for some time, but what differentiates the ‘greats’ from the ‘never was’ is a special something that makes you forget that you have probably seen a carbon copy before. They Came Together mercilessly mocks this formula without a hint of humour or wit, succumbing to all the pitfalls a parody film presents.

They Came together DVDTold through flashbacks, we are given are play by play on how our main couple met and fell in love in New York City. The scene is simple; Joel (Paul Rudd) is a corporate agent who is about to take over a small competing business, owned by Molly (Amy Poehler). Think You’ve Got Mail, with candy substituting for books. Initially meeting at a mutual friends’ Halloween party, Joel and Molly originally hate each other, but one unexpected bookstore run in later sees our couple swiftly falling in love. Then just as quickly fall out of it. Joel gets back together with his cheating ex Tiffany (Cobie Smulders) and Molly agrees to marry a guy completely wrong for her, Eggbert (Ed Helms). Obviously Joel has the realisation that not only can he not put Molly out of business, but he has to stop her impending nuptials.  Which he of course does, and our couple kind of live happily ever after.

The expectation level for this film was average at best, not too high to be disappointed but obviously not too low when comedic geniuses Rudd and Poehler are at the helm. Yet it was such a complete hit and miss for me. Every single joke fell flat. Every attempt at irony was anything but. One of the hardest things about a spoof movie is attempting comedy without over doing it, and unfortunately They Came Together was a failure on that account. At one point in the movie I actually thought my DVD player was broken, I won’t go into detail but basically the same three lines were said repetitively in the exact same way for an entire minute. What this added to the film I don’t know, but there are many scenes like this that are so frustrating that it went beyond the realm of funny and went straight to exhausting.

There are some unexpected cameos along the way and each play their roles to stereotype perfection. Max Greenfield (TV’s New Girl) plays Joel’s younger brother who ‘just can’t get it together’. SNL alum Ellie Kemper and Bill Hader play Joel and Molly’s best friends who are stuck listening to the story of how our couple met. These were the few shining beacons in an otherwise lacklustre film, but were left disappointingly underused by director David Wain, who failed to use the full potential of his cast.

They Came Together had all the makings of a great parody; a talented cast, fantastic location, and a somewhat imaginative premise. But the execution on all counts was substandard considering the success of Wains’ previous satirical endeavour Wet Hot American Summer, which starred both Rudd and Poehler in lead roles. They key to any comedy is to be funny, and unfortunately this film was the complete opposite of laugh out loud.