They Came Together owes a great debt to films like Airplanes! (which spoofed disaster movies) and The Cabin in the Woods (which spoofed horror movies), but it holds its own as a spoof on the one genre that actually deserves to be spoofed: romantic comedies. Tongue-in-cheek movies don’t get more blatant than this one, with every scene dripping drops of liquid self-awareness.
Here’s the story. Joel and Molly (Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler) are having dinner with Kyle and Karren (Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper). The latter couple asks how the two of them met, and they proceed to give them the entire story, claiming that it has a lot in common with a corny rom-com. As we (and Kyle and Karren) come to find out, it really does have a lot in common with a corny rom-com; so much, so that the movie itself becomes a goofy, eye-roll of a rom-com that is always allowing its characters to wink at the camera after stressing their ridiculously outlandish cheesy romance movie behavior.
The thing about it is, it’s actually funny. Paul Rudd’s Joel cracks jokes about how he aspires to open his own coffee shop called “Cup of Joel” (he always asks Molly if she gets the joke, and that’s what makes it so funny). The issue is that Joel is held down by his current job, an executive for Corporate Candy Company. He’s been tasked with shutting down Upper Sweet Side, an indie candy shop right across the street from CCC’s new location. Their stories intermingle when Joel meets the owner of the candy shop: Molly. And of course, the two fall in love, while never hesitating to wink at us when they get the opportunity.
The movie is relatively short, clocking in at just over eighty minutes, but a movie like this doesn’t need to be lengthy. David Wain and Michael Showalter’s script is filled with funny in-jokes for those of us that are tired of the repetitive and overly-sentimental genre conventions while still giving us a few surprises amidst the vast array of intentional clichés. Such surprises are a wealth of cameos, some being from the typical Appatow production, one being famous from a show about prohibition and from being a Kryptonian general, and one being a famous television judge whose last name happens to rhyme with Rudy (not even kidding).
This is essentially a stretched out version of the bit in Don Jon when Jon is explaining how much he despises romantic movies and love stories (with the exception of Anne Hathaway playing “the pretty girl” and Channing Tatum playing “the pretty man”). Fortunately, it’s consistently funny and sometimes hilarious; ceaselessly clever and often intelligent.
1 hr. 23 mins.
Rated R for language and sexual content
Starring Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper
Written by David Wain and Michael Showalter
Directed by David Wain