They Came Together
Fans of Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Wet Hot American Summer, this film is for you. They Came Together is a near perfect parody of the romantic comedy genre, as only David Wain and Michael Showalter can imagine it. The performances and the writing are completely in sync, making the tone of the film just right. While it is most definitely not for everyone—it requires at least a basic familiarity with romantic comedy tropes of the last couple decades—if it puts a smile on your face within the first couple minutes, that smile will likely remain on your face for the next hour and a half.
Paul Rudd plays Joel, an executive at a giant corporate candy company, while Amy Poehler plays Molly, owner of a small candy company across the street. Will their obvious differences be too big of an obstacle for their relationship to blossom? This cliché paves the way for every other cliché imaginable, from a trying on different clothing options montage to a marriage that is called off at the last second. Both Rudd and Poehler nail their roles. Rudd’s facial expressions alone are worth the price of admission, along with the pitch perfect way he delivers his dialogue, subtly making fun of the lines he is saying while still fully committing to them. Poehler is equally up to the task, playing the “quirky but adorable” Molly with just the right amount of self-awareness. Every single side character (of which there are many) are also excellent and create some of the biggest laughs in the film (Ken Marino playing basketball).
I must repeat that this film is not for everyone. Wain and Showalter’s sense of humor tends to be a bit polarizing—you either enjoy it immensely or you don’t at all. This is their most Wet Hot American Summer of films since Wet Hot American Summer. The plot and the character development are both secondary to the gags. In this film, even more so than in Wet Hot American Summer, the plot is simply not important. It is not exactly a Saturday Night Live film, or even a parody like Airplane, but it is its own thing. It is a self-contained world in which the rules are dictated by what Michael Showalter and David Wain deemed funny and parody-worthy.
With this disregard for plot comes an incredible amount of creative freedom in that every romantic comedy cliché can be explored within Joel and Molly’s relationship. Side characters can be introduced and then pushed aside for the rest of the film. Joel has a stereotypical best friend (Jason Mantzoukas), a stereotypical little brother (Max Greenfield), a stereotypical group of buddies (Kenan Thompson, Jack McBrayer, Ken Marino), a stereotypical vindictive ex-girlfriend (Coby Smulders), etc. Molly has similar stereotypical relationships, as well as a son who is casually introduced halfway through the movie, an ex-husband, another ex-husband, and a new fiancé. So, jokes are pulled from the likes of When Harry Met Sally, Jerry Maguire, You’ve Got Mail, and dozens of others.
They Came Together is one of the best parody films to come out in years. There are laughs to be had around every corner, and if you know what to expect going in, you will not be disappointed. If you are a fan of David Wain, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, or you just want to see a loving parody of every romantic comedy, then They Came Together is the movie for you.
Movie Review by Mike Danner