By STEVE PERSALL
Times Film Critic
While geeks inherit the Earth, it's proper for them to have a romantic comedy all their own, and a hero reflecting their wants and (plenty of) needs.
I give you She's Out of My League, and its sniveling star, Jay Baruchel.
Until now, Baruchel was best known as the geek with the bad haircut in Knocked Up, or perhaps the geek snapping Robert Downey Jr. out of his Afro-delusions in Tropic Thunder. After She's Out of My League, Baruchel will still be introduced with those credits, considering how forgettable this movie is.
Baruchel's coat-hanger shoulders and perpetual expression of smelling something rotten are vital to his role. He plays Kirk, a whiny airport security guard called a "moodle" — short for "man poodle" — by his co-worker friends, as if they have lives to feel superior about. These idiots were probably on duty when that underwear bomber sneaked aboard a flight. They probably gave him a wedgie.
Kirk has been dumped by his girlfriend, Marnie (Lindsay Sloane), who still gets along famously with his parents, with whom he's still living (naturally). He carries a torch for her, getting burned at every desperate turn. She's Out of My League is an all-encompassing title; no self-respecting woman would stoop to his level of alleged romance.
But since this is a movie, one does. Molly (Alice Eve) is a knockout on all counts. She's a successful party planner, blissfully free of ego despite her looks, and speaks fluent hockey. She is, in short, a catch. Forgetting her mobile phone at the security gate gives Kirk a chance to see her again, at a posh affair where he arrives in his guard uniform since airports apparently don't have lockers for their employees.
Molly just got over a bad boyfriend experience with a hunky jet pilot named Cam (Geoff Stults), who cheated on her. It's obvious that her attraction to Kirk is a lunge for someone "safe," who wouldn't get the chance to do her wrong. Things go pretty well until Cam flies back into the picture, and Marnie's insecurity about Molly's hotness brings second thoughts about Kirk.
The plot stinks, so cut to the key scenes: Kirk gets a very personal manscaping from a buddy (Nate Torrence), another pal named Stainer (T.J. Miller) is a bottomless cesspool of ready-for-T-shirts insults, and Kirk angers Molly's parents by bolting from a first meeting because she enticed him into an erection. This is a Judd Apatow movie regressed to grade school smut.
The only memorable aspect of She's Out of My League is Eve's performance. Not that it's good, but it does possess the hypnotic quality of a flicker ring. Eve is a dead ringer for Reese Witherspoon when she's happy and Nicole Kidman when she's pensive. Reese, Nicole, Reese, Nicole, the resemblance is amazing. That Baruchel keeps peering at her like she has leprosy is one more reason Kirk doesn't deserve her.
Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Read his blog, Reeling in the Years, at blogs.tampabay.com/movies.