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Sundance 2014: ‘They Came Together’ is sweet, funny, klutzy

February 23rd, 2014 Posted in Arts and Life

By Katie Swain

PARK CITY—New York City, a big business “vaguely, but not overtly, Jewish leading man,” and a mom and pops candy store owning “klutzy, but adorable, leading lady” who are so different they’re obviously perfect each other. Sound familiar? It sounded familiar to writer/director David Wain and his writing partner Michael Showalter, too.

“We love romantic comedies,” Showalter said. “They’re also quite a bit of fun to make fun of because the genre’s become so formulaic.”

Premiering at Sundance last month, “They Came Together” is a romantic comedy spoof that deconstructs the rom-com formula and in gut-splitting, tongue-in-cheek style wackiness includes every cliché in the book.

Doe-eyed Paul Rudd is the vaguely Jewish lead, Joel, and fresh-faced Amy Poehler is the klutzy and adorable romantic opposite, Molly. New York City plays itself of course.

The movie begins with Joel and Molly at dinner telling the story of how they first met and fell in love to their friends, a bored and jaded married couple (played by Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper). With the disclaimer that their story is straight out of a movie romance, they launch into a zany whirlwind of events.

Molly owns a small candy shop called Upper Sweet Side, Joel works for Candy Systems and Research, a mega candy store chain determined to run Molly out of business. From quaint coffee shop day dates and a shared interested in fiction books, to crazy manipulative ex-girlfriends, holiday parties with coincidentally matching costumes, and a secret son (who instantly falls in love with Joel, and then is never mentioned again) Molly and Joel go through the whole rom-com plot arch – the first meeting, the initial loathing, the coincidences that throw them together, the much anticipated falling in love, the dramatic break-up, and then the final, passionate reconciliation.

Wain isn’t afraid to be bold; from literal jokes of an uptight waiter with an actual 10 foot pole protruding from his backside and a repetitive “you can say that again” moment, to crude humors of a tight-fitting suit and a bathroom emergency, to the inevitable interrupted wedding scene (polished off nicely with a knife fight).  His tactic seems to be going overboard. And strangely, it works. Bizarre to the point of ridiculous, “They Came Together” comes out hilarious and completely fresh and new, despite the many age-old clichés.

“The way we did this was kind of like let’s blow this whole romantic comedy thing up,” Rudd said. “Let’s just not do this anymore.”

There are cameos in nearly every scene from actors like Michael Shannon, Ed Helms, Christopher Meloni, Max Greenfield, Jason Mantzoukas, Colbie Smulders, and, my personal favorite, Judge Judy who pulls off a Colbie Smulders mask, Mission Impossible style. (In response to a question of what the Judge Judy cameo meant Wain said, “Don’t overthink it man.” Wain then applauded their great fortune in being able to convince Judge Judy to play the whole movie dressed like Colbie Smulders.)

Much like the movie itself, the Q&A after was a spoof on anything informative, ending up more like the best stand-up comedy session of the century. The only question taken seriously at all (and even calling it the most legitimate and relevant yet by Wain) was when a gentleman asked him where the bathroom was. We were told though the film would have a June 27 release date (for whatever that’s worth).


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  1. One Response to “Sundance 2014: ‘They Came Together’ is sweet, funny, klutzy”

  2. By John on Mar 3, 2014

    great news. I liked the article. The way the author has written. Than you for this nice post.

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