They Came Together Screen 11 articles

They Came Together


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  • No trope of the genre is safe from sendup by the filmmakers (David Wain, who directed, and Michael Showalter, who co-wrote the script with him), but their satirical sense is neither tender nor savage; it’s as clichéd as the conventions they mock, and the chirpy overwriting and one-note direction constrain the lively cast.

  • Some of these [jokes] stick, if not for long, mostly because Mr. Wain, who made a delightful comedy with“Role Models” and a cult favorite with “Wet Hot American Summer,”has opted to deliver a series of hit-and-miss sketch-comedy bits rather than a fully realized movie that might have gutted contemporary rom-com clichés rather than just weakly aping them.

  • It's one thing to make a facsimile of a bad movie. It's quite another to imitate mediocrity, as David Wain and Michael Showalter do here. As ambitions go, that's far more perverse and exciting than mere intentional ineptitude. They Came Together nails the music, the montages, and the too-smiley performances of a hacky romcom... [But I would] describe They Came Together as "only fitfully funny"; maybe you say it has "nonstop laughs."

  • Those merry pranksters David Wain and Michael Showalter aim to do for the factory-made Hollywood romantic comedy what their “Wet Hot American Summer” did for the summer-camp movie in “They Came Together,” a lively comic jamboree that’s sometimes smarter than it is funny and hits about as often as it misses, but is, on balance, a good deal of fun.

  • So while the film sometimes feels like a simple skit stretched to epic proportions, the sense of overextension suits the relentless attack on comfort and familiarity. It also seems intentional that Wain, co-writer Michael Showalter, and company are picking the bones of a fundamentally dead genre, the type of classic, mass-market romantic comedy that's faded from the landscape in recent years.

  • That’s primarily the sort of humor you get throughout—low blows raised to the level of gut-busting art. Try not to guffaw at Christopher Meloni, one of many guest stars, shitting himself in a skintight superhero costume, or Rudd getting uncomfortably intimate with his suprisingly bootylicious bubbe. Wain is a great gag man but an indifferent storyteller...

  • ...A comedy that unravels every convention of the New York–based rom-com and leaves us with a feature-length string of comedy sketches that venture deeper and deeper into absurdity as the film goes on. That may sound like a risky proposition, but miraculously, in the capable hands of writer-director David Wain (with co-writer Michael Showalter), the movie succeeds. It’s a light-hearted film that is smarter than it seems—or as Wain once said, “a deliberately terrible romantic comedy.”

  • David Wain’s rom-com spoof They Came Together, which on paper sounds like it’s way late to the party, sneaks up on you. Taking pretty much every rom-com trope and distilling it into highly concentrated ridiculousness, Wain’s film is both a takedown and a tribute: As with his summer-camp-movie spoof Wet Hot American Summer, you walk away with a renewed love for the genre.

  • Unsurprisingly given the sensibilities in control, the jokes can be specific to a hermetic extreme: I don’t think the gag cutting from an exterior shot of the Strand bookstore to an interior that’s a smaller, different establishment might travel outside NYC, but (in the prickly spirit of Los Angeles Plays Itself) it’s still a great niche joke about too many movies’ careless geographical scrambling of/contempt for locations.

  • What's so ingenious about this film (and so unlikely about its success) is that Wain pitches himself dead centre between the moebius strip teases of Charlie Kaufman and the farty, single-serve namechecking of Friedberg and Seltzer, and somehow manages to take all the best of the former, and absolutely nothing from the latter.

  • The key to They Came Together, for me, is not to see it as lobbing any kind of coherent takedown of hackneyed romantic comedy tropes, but rather as a gag exercise that merely uses the romantic comedy as a rough template. In this context, the film is all about the strange grace notes that line the edges of the ostensible romantic narrative.

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