“But what they’re doing now isn’t communism, it’s totalitarianism dressed up as communism.”
The Scoop: 2014 R, directed by David Wain and starring Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Bill Hader
Tagline: He came…she came…they both came
Summary Capsule: David Wain and Company take the fight to romantic comedies everywhere
Yeti’s rating: Eight Wet Hot American Summer alumni out of ten.
Yeti’s review: If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last two weeks, it’s this: road trips are much better on film than in real life. I never met up with an overweight jolly fellow that drove me crazy, there was no accidental trip to Boston instead of Austin, nor was I surrounded by a dysfunctional family on the way to a beauty pageant. Heck, I’d even settle for a Fellowship, as horrifying as that trek would be. I bet this is where you expect me to relate my terrible trip to the quirky new “road trip” film I’ve seen. Not so fast my friends.
You see, in the next few days I will be attending a family re-union in upstate Maine. Obviously I could have boarded a flight from Los Angeles to Maine, making all of my labors go away in one turbulence filled heart attack. Unfortunately for my stress levels, I decided to watch Into the Wild, and over two weeks later, with physical and mental scars to show, here I am.
All of this for what, a family reunion? Any reunion is pretty awful if I say so myself. I’m twenty-five, going on twenty-six years old. There will be tons of questions as to why I’m not married yet. I can’t even hire my cousin to come along as my “pretend date.” I need to save that for the ever so popular high school reunion. Yeah sure, the doctors and the architects have no problem at these events. But for the Jason Statham look a like (in the wrong way) bartender, this is not ideal. Unless of course my whole class has become Cocktail super fans over the past ten years (if only). To get me out of my cynical mood I planned on popping in the greatest reunion movie, American Reunion. That is until I learned of a more unexpected gathering. David Wain had just released a new movie, They Came Together. After perusing the IMDB page and seeing the cast, I had no choice but to check it out. And to iTunes I went!
The film opens with Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler) on a double date with two friends of theirs (played by Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper). Right away you know what you’re getting into. In that first scene, Joel and Molly explaining how they met, Wain, and co-writer Michael Showalter, make it perfectly clear what kind of movie you are about to watch. Unfortunately, as is pretty standard with me, I can’t think of a word to describe it. It’s not exactly a spoof. It is, but with a dab of homage mixed in. So it’s the baby from a homage and spoof marriage. A “hoof”.
If I’m being honest, I could feel a hint of maliciousness during my viewing. The jabs at the genre were so unrelenting. It’s like one of Matthew McConaughey’s middle of the decade disasters personally attacked Wain or Showalter’s family. I’m pretty sure they have a grudge against the genre. Didn’t they listen to Ben Affleck’s Oscar speech? Perhaps they just hate themselves for loving romantic comedies so much. That’s not to say the movie isn’t enjoyable. Because it is. And it’s not to say that it won’t make you laugh. Because there are parts that definitely will. But was it genuinely because of the film, or did it have anything to do with the mini-reunion that it displays?
When you put Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Christopher Meloni, David Wain, Michael Ian Black, Zak Orth, and Ken *freaking* Marino on screen, you’re going to get some laughs. I don’t care who you are. I’ve been salivating for a Wet Hot American Summer sequel (or prequel) ever since I randomly rented it at my local video store. And it looks like we will indeed be getting something like that (in the form of an Arrested Development Netflix deal), but in the meantime, They Came Together fills that void perfectly. Along with our alumni, Wain reaches out to a deep slew of cameos, from Ed Helms, to multiple Saturday Night Live vets, climaxing with Michael Shannon (arguably the funniest bit in the film).
I’m hesitant to recommend to friends. To anyone, really. If you hate romantic comedies, one would think this is the movie for you. And while it does decimate them for almost ninety minutes, it remarkably has the feel of a romantic comedy. Of course if you love movies in that genre I wouldn’t stop you from watching, but the humor might not be your taste. The only niche group who I can recommend it to are the Wet Hot American Summer fans. It’s not even a safe bet that if you liked Wain’s more mainstream films, Role Models and Wanderlust, that this one will be worth it. Perhaps if you like Childrens Hopsital or The State. Now that I think of it, there is a group. If you live for awkward conversations with that dude you sat next to in homeroom all of high school, watch this film. Do you look forward to not getting a word in while your Uncle Ralph talks about his fly fishing stories? Turn on They Came Together. Because this is a more satisfying reunion than any I’ve ever attended.
- The Wet Hot American Summer alumni involved: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Christopher Meloni, Michael Ian Black, David Wain, Michael Showalter (writer), Zak Orth, and Ken Marino.
- Currently the movie has a 68 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I was surprised to find out Wet Hot American Summer has an abysmal 32 percent rating. Critics. Am I right?
- Michael Shannon has comedic talent all over him. It’s strange seeing, usually serious actors, nail minor comedy roles. I guess if you’re a great actor it doesn’t matter the role.
- How funny is Christopher Meloni? Seeing him kill this role makes the pain that much more intense from the Surviving Jack cancellation.
- Here’s an interview with David Wain on NPR talking about the film. Apparently he LOVES romantic comedies. Awkward….
Why don’t you just take a jerk, you hike!
In fact, fiction books is one of my favorite kind of books.
Saving that little candy shop is about saving life on Earth as we know it!
It’s over Trevor! Now get out of here before I change my mind.
No, I want you to change your mind. Then I’ll still have a job.
Do not listen to Mr. Chronically-single-always-dating-some-new-hot-chick-guy.
He’s doing T-I-M-E in jail.
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