Ah, the 90’s romantic comedy. Bursting into my life with the always great and heart-string-pulling Sleepless Seattle, then reprising itself in the equally warm and AOL marketing You’ve Got Mail, and finally concluding with less successful yet equally emotional How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and 2008’s 27 Dresses (starring Cyclops). I’m sure there are a lot more I don’t remember, but those are some of the highlights of a long tenured history of watching romantic comedies with my wife. Don’t get me wrong I have watched some of those movies by myself, because sometimes I am a sap and I will also watch almost anything when I am bored, but I still relegate myself to watching most romantic comedies in the presence of my better half.
That being said, I regret having watched this romantic-ish comedy on Netflix all by myself, however. They Came Together was a movie I watched and then made sure to tell Tina right away we HAVE to watch it together. It stars two of our favorite actors, Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, as Molly and Joel, as well as favorites Ed Helms and Michael Ian Black. It even has a small part for Avengers cast member Cobie Smulders. The whole movie thrives on being littered with great comedic actors and other character actors playing their roles effectively. Sometimes the best parts about the movie are recognizing and laughing at these small roles.
The casting should give away what this movie does with the drama, but it is in no way sold as a satire. However, They Came Together is definitely a satire of those 90’s and early 2000 Rom-Coms I mentioned previously. Using the common formula that makes up about every romantic comedy, building up and tearing down common tropes, and even taking a break to poke fun at the front woman of romantic comedy soundtracks, Norah Jones, the movie is playfully gut-punching everything we embraced about Rom-Coms because we just wanted to see the two characters get together.
At times the movie feels like a spiritual successor and full realization of Tina Fey and Steve Carell’s romantic comedy, Date Night. While that was certainly not a satire, it used two incredibly funny comedy actors to make something silly, fun, yet still heart-warming. We Came Together takes a darker turn by throwing in absurdist humor that plays a joke until it is completely worn out, yet still leaves you laughing. There is also a painful, overly-sweet delivery of everyone’s lines that prods at the feel good nature of most Rom-Coms, especially late 2000 ones. Knowing that we would still be satisfied with Joel and Molly getting together at the end of the movie, a last twist is thrown in that knocks us off balance, but then is immediately righted, to make sure we don’t go crazy and rebel against the movie. It’s a funny touch and showed that the movie could have gone darker and probably been more successful at the satirical elements if it had embraced a darker edge.
I don’t think we will ever get over the allure of romantic comedies, but They Came Together certainly will give us pause the next time that a couple comes together, has a great time, breaks up, then makes up, and lives happily ever after. Or maybe it will confirm your love of the genre. Either way, the acting is great, the comedy is laugh out loud funny, and it is an enjoyable movie to watch with friends or your significant other. Check it out and let us know what you think after watching it this weekend.