Production Company: Lionsgate
Director: David Wain
Producers: David Wain, Michael Showalter
Written By: David Wain, Michael Showalter
Starring: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader
Release Date: September 5th, 2014
Running Time: 83 Minutes
They Came Together
They Came Together’s style of comedy certainly isn’t for everybody. The scenes will push a joke past the point of funny, going all the way to unfunny and then keep going. Eventually, the sheer ridiculousness of the situation will make it hilarious again. They’re the kind of jokes you tell while sitting around with friends and running it into the ground. It’s usually not the kind of comedy that makes it into a film. If you are familiar with director David Wain’s other work, like Wet Hot American Summer or Children’s Hospital, you’ll know what to expect going in. But if you’ve never set foot into this kind of absurdity before it might take some adjusting to. They Came Together is certainly one of the most David Wain-y of David Wains projects.
Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler play Joel and Molly. They’re just a couple of cliché rom-com style lead characters living in New York City. Joel works for a big corporate candy conglomerate looking to crush all small independent businesses in New York. And wouldn’t you know it, Molly owns a small independent candy story in Manhattan. It’s as if everything is against them and they couldn’t be more of an unlikely pairing. They Came Together plays on all the tropes. But this isn’t just a parody of rom-com narratives – it’s a meta-comedy. The winks to the audience aren’t done so with a sly nudge but rather with a knockout punch. Every set-up is like a sketch comedy scene where the aim is to make it as silly as possible.
Any excuse to be preposterous is taken. From characters falling out of a 100-story window while casually throwing a ball around in their office to a someone tearing off their face to reveal themselves as Judge Judy. No statement escapes the opportunity to be taken too literally. When Molly’s accountant comments that if she wants to know why his marriage failed then she’d have to ask his brother. So, Molly asks, “Is he here?” and from behind the accountant appears his brother to help explain the subtle differences that caused the split in the marriage, before disappearing into the background again.
As mentioned before, this kind of comedy isn’t for everyone. In fact, I suspect for many people this doesn’t feel much like comedy at all. It’s part parody, part absurdity. But it always finds a way to be unpredictable. Some jokes catch you off-guard because of the completely unforeseeable outcome. Other moments really like hitting you over the head with the joke until you’re laughing at the pain.
They Came Together is more The Naked Gun than The Proposal. Its Parody dialled up to 11. If you’re a fan of sketch comedy, absurdist humour, spoofs, and satire then there’s probably part of this film that will make you chuckle. It’s not complicated, and it won’t tug at your heart strings, but it is 80 minutes of irreverent fun. Going in with expectations is probably the wrong way to approach They Came Together. But if you’re tired of the same stale rom-com story beats coming at you time and time again maybe try this one for something a little fresher.