Chad White, Conventional Lover, You Like It Baby
We’re all sick of the traditional love story in a modern day romantic comedy. Person A and Person B are two different people but they share one common thing. They eventually fall for each other after several hints throughout act one and in act two, something happens that splits them up. Most of act three is spent with the characters apart doing their own thing only until their best friend/some predestined circumstance brings them back together. The end. That simple structure leads to many disappointing endings to some pretty decent films. Movies that try to break said structure (The Break Up for instance) falter due to execution or characters.
David Wain’s They Came Together takes the usual ideas seen in other romantic comedies and blows them out of proportion. The characters have unrealistic goals, events seem to happen for no apparent reason, and wacky instances overtake jokes. Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler play Joel and Molly, two people that find themselves down on their luck only to find each other just in the nick of time. Joel is getting out of a bad relationship with a cheating ex played by Cobie Smulders; Molly only had her dog to keep her company. At first, they hate each other, but after finding common ground (a love for fiction books), the two hit it off.
The crux of the movie is that everything that we rely on in romantic comedies is often overused to a point where nothing matters anymore. We know the two characters are going to fall in love sooner or later so why even bother with all of the extraneous plot devices? They Came Together is driven by making fun of these overused devices. The city is often referenced as an extra character to the story (very literally); Molly, like other ditzy female heroines, is a klutz to the fullest extent; Joel’s job is the reason why the two break up at one point. Plot points like this can be considered dull but here they are wonderful. The script makes all the necessary movements during the story that an audience member who has only seen one romcom laugh with delight.
Characters are a delight as well. Max Greenfield portrays Joel’s happy-go-lucky yet down on his luck brother. Jason Mantzoukas is wonderful as Joel’s best friend. Ellie Kemper and Bill Hader do their best as the couple that listens to the story that is being recounted by Joel and Molly. Kenan Thompson, Ken Marino, and Jack McBrayer stand in as the best friends that all play basketball together and each of them make up one characteristic of our hero. Filled with standouts and cameos alike, They Came Together is another film that fits with Wain’s motif of comedic actor appearances.
Should you watch They Came Together?
Like most of David Wain’s films (see Wet Hot American Summer and Wanderlust) They Came Together is sure to be a cult hit. It makes every romantic film that you love look samey and uninteresting. The script smartly comments on the problems that romcoms have to deal with while it too falls into the same camp. Go watch this as soon as it hits a theater near you. Or watch it on demand because that’s a thing now.