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Feke with Max Greenfield

They Came Together a predictable, but fun, rom-com

Romantic comedies have wooed audiences with their sugary sweet gestures for years. Quotable moments from You’ve Got Mail to When Harry Met Sally to Notting Hill to Jerry Maguire have amassed pop culture. What do these films have in common that make them so special? Apart from feel-good playfulness, they are ideal fodder for the best-worst romantic comedy They Came Together.

Debuting at the Los Angeles Film Festival, They Came Together offers the highest form of flattery to the romance genre. Every trope gets the comedic treatment. The blind date, the awkward first kiss, overhead conversations. From the girl’s side: “you go girl” best friend camaraderie and dress-up montages. From the boy’s side: heart to hearts with a bartender and then his buddies over a basketball court. Let’s not forget family references with overprotective big sisters and moocher little brothers. The only thing missing was a trip to the top of the Empire State Building. I can only imagine it was not included for the sheer number of Meg Ryan references already used in the movie. Icing on the rom-com cake would have been a cameo appearance from the queen of romance herself. Still other unexpected celebrities do find their way on screen.

Paul Rudd plays executive Billy Joel at Candy Systems Research, a major candy corporation set to overthrow the local Upper Sweet Side candy shop owned by Amy Poehler’s Molly. As you expect, they meet, hate each other, fall in love, separate and get back together. Max Greenfield (New Girl) plays Paul Rudd’s little brother and of course becomes a responsible adult overnight to save the day. He is as sweet on screen as off (see photo). Also, you have never seen Christopher Meloni quite like this. As much as he was a hero on Law and Order: SVU, you will never want him to be your “superhero” after watching him as Billy Joel’s corporate liar of a boss.

They Came Together plays tongue in cheek, sometimes with too much tongue. Think of it as an 83-minute raspberry. It tries so hard to make fun of the genre its own predictability falls flat at times. Do not say I did not warn you about that dud of a grandmother, a.k.a. “bubby,” scene. Still most of the references will delight or at least make you smile. The LA Film Festival audience burst with laughter time and again. Any die hard romantic comedy fan will be able to pull out the non-stop references to decades of noteworthy films. Can anyone reference at least three films in the first scene alone? It should be easy.

Like Scary Movie but for rom-coms, They Came Together is intended to be fun and it serves its purpose as the perfect date movie. The girl gets her romance and the boy gets to mock it to smithereens! It is a friendly reminder that rainbows and unicorns may not come prancing into your love life anytime soon. Before things get too serious, sometimes you may just have to find the humor in it all.

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