The name of parody films have been tarnished over the past 10 years. With films like “Meet the Spartans” and “Epic Movie,” audiences tend to groan when they even hear the genre of parody.
With the recent release of “They Came Together,” a film that imitates and pokes fun at formulaic “rom-coms,” we are reminded that you can’t ever judge a film based upon it’s genre.
With a smart script from Michael Showalter & David Wain and a near-perfect set of performances from it’s ensemble cast, “They Came Together” delivers as the best satire film since the “Naked Gun” series.
The film is a clear satire and parody of the predictable romantic-comedies (or chick-flicks, as some may call them) that we see, with the characters being self-aware of certain plot holes and often pointing them out to the audience.
It follows Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler) as two people who fall in love, while being total opposites in life. Joel works for a corporate candy company, while Molly owns her own little cute and quirky candy shop in New York City that Joe’s company is trying to eliminate.
While this makes it seem like the film is basing it’s satire around “You’ve Got Mail,” it doesn’t focus on one movie to poke fun at, it makes several small references and focuses on the genre as a whole. It’s the execution of the narrative that helps the film survive on it’s own, rather than leaning on the crutch of making fun of other specific films.
One of the smarter parts of the script that results in hilarity is how writers Showalter and Wain point out how the two lovers have pretty much nothing in common and that there is nothing about them that should make us believe that they are soul-mates, but we should just believe it because it’s a movie and that’s what we’re supposed to do.
A great example of this is when Joel and Molly fall for each other when they find out that they both enjoy fiction. They treat fiction as if it is some rare type of interest such as Ska music or Bansai tree caring.
Another aspect that makes the script so great is pointing how there are sometimes completely pointless scenes in “rom-coms” that have nothing to do with the plot.
In a scene where Joel meets up with his brother, played intelligently by New Girl’s Max Greenfield, and they have an entire scene about how different they are and look at life differently, comparing their relationship to troubles that they had with their parents dying when they were younger. This is then pointed out how this scene has absolutely nothing to do with the story.
Helmed by the same people who gave us “Wet Hot American Summer,” this film is evident that the writers and cast have grown a lot since their popular comedic cult-classic. This film runs as a much more mature, intelligent version of that film.
In addition to the writing, the performances are spot on. Being a satire, the quality of the acting is not dependent on the honesty of a performance, because that’s obviously not the intention of the film.
Poehler and Rudd have fantastic chemistry together and put forth several great scenes in the film because of it. Their farcical performances are a result of treating each scene so seriously that it creates a much stronger humor than what existed in the script, which was strong to begin with.
This pushes even farther the point of how intelligent this film is. There are several jokes that wouldn’t get across as well if they were just delivered too harshly or if the actors were desperately trying to get a laugh. That’s not the case with either Rudd or Poehler. Their performances add so much more to the already solid script.
Along with the main two leads, there are several great supporting performances, as well as some really fun cameos. Jason Mantzoukas, known for FX’s “The League,” has some brilliant comedic moments and brings in a lot of laughs from the moment he steps on screen. Audiences should be excited every time his figure comes into frame.
Some of the short cameos include everyone from Jeffery Dean Morgan to Nora Jones— who performs an entire breaking-the-4th-wall music video in the middle of the film— each of the cameos result in a fresh laugh or two.
It cannot be mentioned enough how smart of a satire this film is. The general audience should appreciate the comedy here, but audiences who are aware of the frequent romantic comedy tendencies will appreciate this film even more.
“They Came Together” is a film that not only brings fresh laughs on a consistent basis for the first viewing, but the jokes are so subtle that the appreciation for the film will grow even larger upon second or third viewings.
Unfortunately, the film was given a limited release. So many of the audiences out there will have to wait until it’s September 2 DVD and Blu-Ray release date, unless you choose to pay the $6.99 for the Amazon Instant rental.
No matter what the case, give this film a viewing. It is a self-aware comedic gem.