Paul Rudd sends up Paul Rudd in They Came Together

Paul Rudd sends up Paul Rudd in They Came Together

This is a good, but not great, parody of romantic comedies. While there are some laffs, it is no Airplane! (1980) or Blazing Saddles (1974) – the movie genre in question is subjected to a gentle ribbing rather than the thorough takedown it probably deserves.

Paul Rudd (who has cashed plenty of checks appearing in the sort of movie being sent up here) and Amy Poehler play the romantic leads. They’re supported by a cast of familiar faces: SNL is well represented, as is Parks & Recreation, How I Met Your Mother, The Office, and even Law & Order: SVU. The TV comedians play the usual rom-com archetypes: The Cheating Girlfriend, The Underachieving Brother, The Work Rival, etc.

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They Came Together’s big running joke is its self-awareness: the actors frequently flat-out announce who they are and what their role is in the plot. Like 22 Jump Street (2014), this is funnier the first few times around. Director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer, Children’s Hospital) has enough sense not to run the gag into the ground. He’s also very good at the mimicking the mechanics of an actual rom-com – the movie moves at a nice pace and punctures all the right balloons. However, I couldn’t help thinking how much edgier it would have been if the film had been directed by, say, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the (pre-wingnut) Zucker Brothers, or even some random Wayans Brother. On the plus side, at least they kept Adam Sandler away.

Ultimately the movie is carried more by the goofball charm of the cast than sharp writing. It’s a pretty good time in general, but probably funnier at matinee prices or Video on Demand.

Overall Score: 85
Letter Grade: B+