Director: David Wain
Cast: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler
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A film review always begins with a sweeping generalisation. Although sometimes, there is a second sentence qualifying the first.
The second paragraph summary of plot follows, describing the typical boy-meets-girl set-up – for example, in They Came Together, New Yorkers Joel and Molly, who turn up to a fancy dress party held by mutual acquaintances wearing the same outfit. Humorous remark!
The story is then outlined in formulaic fashion, from their opposites-attract careers of a corporate candy company and a quirky, indie sweet shop to their discovery that both of them like fiction books. Commentary about the actors is interwoven with the sentences, explaining that Paul Rudd is perfectly cast as the likeable everyman and that Amy Poehler channels Leslie Nielsen’s deadpan delivery and physical slapstick as the clueless, ditzy female. Ironic comparison to the roles they’ve played before in their careers!
The review points out that the script is made up of words and that these words are spoken by men and women. Credit is paid to Michael Showalter and David Wain for writing the words down on the page for the men and women to read. A witty quote from a conversation that sounds like it could have come from a normal rom-com is included, probably in its own paragraph to add emphasis.
“You look sad,” says a stereotypical barman, as Joel walks in and sits down, post-break-up. “Tell me about it,” sighs Joel. “You look sad,” the barman replies.
The supporting cast are also mentioned in a lengthy, cumbersome sentence that lists their attributes, from Kenan Thompson and Bill Hader to Ed Helms as a unsuitable rival lover – who doesn’t like fiction books – and Randall Park and Ellie Kemper, playing Paul and Molly’s token best friends, whom are told the entire movie in a meta-narrative, which cleverly highlights this is a self-aware satire that spoofs the genre yet also follows it so carefully that Molly and Joel actually become a charming couple.
Any weaknesses of the film are rounded up in a penultimate paragraph to demonstrate the critic is balanced, noting that They Came Together is perhaps dated in its targets of Meg Ryan-era rom-coms. A follow-up assertion counters these arguments with the fact that They Came Together is funnier than most modern romantic comedies, ending the review on a positive note.
The director, David Wain, is finally praised for being the director of a post-modern gem, accompanied by a bland observation about how the movie’s location of New York is almost a character in its own right. The review concludes with a repeat of the opening generalisation but in a way that makes you appreciate it in a new light.
They Came Together is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.
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