David Wain, perhaps best known as the director of films like Role Models and Wanderlust returns to a style of genre comedy that made Wet Hot American Summer a huge cult hit over the last few years, but instead of the 80s teen movie They Came Together eyes up the romantic comedy genre, and absolutely decimates every cliché and beat to all of those soft, easy films that Meg Ryan then Jennifer Aniston then Katherine Heigl made their money off of. Joel and Molly, Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler, are at dinner with friends Ellie Kemper and Bill Hader, when they begin to tell the story of how they became a couple, which is the framing for every conceivable moment a broad, bland romantic comedy would give the audience, but played to the hilt. Molly is a clumsy single woman working in her cutesy independent store in New York, who donates all profits to charity, and Joel works at the big company trying to take over New York with their brand.
You’ve Got Mail, you may say, because they go that direction first. But whilst that film’s almost 20-year-old resonance may not be felt these days, its simply one of many films that They Came Together sets their eyes on as we go through the awkward meeting, the they hate each other segment, the clumsy sex scene, meeting the parents, BFF girl hang, guys playing basketball and discussing love, Joel and his baby brother (Max Greenfield who in one scene dresses like Justin Bieber in order to pretend he’s way younger) having brother difficulties that become a realisation of love and life. The film also has bitter exes, love rivals, leaving the altar and cameos galore as we go through absolutely everything in the space of 80 minutes, leave no stone unturned, and never lose sight of the fact that in this movie world where everything is possible, the goofier, weirder, more abstract things only heighten the stupidity of rom com movie lore.
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With a successful gag rate that sits next to Airplane! In the laughs-per-minute region, They Came Together is smart and inspired, never boring, frequently silly and has maybe the best cameo of the year, spoiled on imdb of course but it is so perfect and hysterical and, by the way, perfect that you all will adore it as it plays out. They Came Together is a masterpiece of comedy, David Wain’s strongest film to date, all that AND it has John Stamos in it.