As the credits continued to pop up along the bottom of the screen, I started thinking it’d be hard to hate David Wain’s They Came Together. It’s got Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Ellie Kemper, Bill Hader, Cobie Smulders, Michael Ian Black, Ed Helms… And each of them performs perfectly, with a wink and a nod. If you know your romcoms, this is a blast. If you don’t… well, you’re probably one of the folks who gave it 1.5 stars on Netflix.
Molly (Poehler) and Joel (Rudd) met in a corny, romantic comedy kind of way, and that’s exactly what they’re explaining to their friends Kyle (Hader) and Karen (Kemper) over dinner. Kyle and Karen are key to this romcom parody, since they react as the audience in a theater would. For example, with exactly 30 minutes left and the movie beginning to feel long, Karen stands up to leave, causing Molly to shout “Sit your ass down Karen!” It’s spot on. Together weaves, well, together all the love story moments you anticipate– there’s guys playing basketball while offering marriage advice, a sassy black friend named Wanda (played by Teyonah Parris, Mad Men‘s Dawn, I’ve missed you!), and coffee dates. But in this movie, the guys can’t make any of the shots, Wanda was going to be Ben Franklin for Halloween, and Molly orders her coffee even worse than Sally Albright would.
What may be even stronger than its parody is Together’s ridiculous one liners, taking advantage of the adage “All’s fair in love and war.” When Joel asks Tiffany (Smulders) if she loves him, she replies, “I love Saturdays.” Molly tells Joel she’s a regular at a bookstore. His retort? “Yeah, a regular beanbag!” The list of quotes that made me laugh out loud for no apparent reason other than irreverence could go on endlessly. And the film laughs at itself, literally. When some jokes are told, the characters laugh far beyond an acceptable length of time, and the jokes themselves often push the limits of funny. There’s an entire exchange of goodbye’s, several minutes of “You can say that again!” only to hear the “that” all over again. And yet. Amidst the consistently growing cast of characters and film tropes, it all feels right. Like any over the top romantic comedy should feel.