They Came Together Sends Up the Rom-Com

Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler in They Came Together. Courtesy of Lionsgate.

David Wain’s 2014 film, They Came Together, is a brilliant satire of one of cinema’s most beloved film genres, the romantic comedy.

Screenwriters Michael Showalter and David Wain turn to The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail as the core basis of their romantic comedy satire. But aside from this, they really make the film their own while running a tight 83 minutes. Like any rom-com, New York is a character in and of itself.

When we first met Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler), they are having dinner with Kyle (Bill Hader) and Karen (Ellie Kemper). Joel and Molly explain how their life is a corny romantic comedy and thus, we flashback to how it all starts. Upon flashing back, the establishing shot for Amy Poehler’s character features a mezuzah on the door. From what we know about Molly’s parents, her character definitely is not Jewish.

Joel works at the Candy Systems & Research (CSR), a corporate chain that is planning to set up shop across from Molly’s Upper Sweet Side NYC. Like any corporate chain, it spells doom for Molly as she fights to save her business. They’ve probably run into each other a number of times but they hate each other upon their arrival to Bob (Jason Mantzoukas) and Brenda’s (Melanie Lynskey) Halloween party. Ironically, both come dressed as Benjamin Franklin. Watch out for Bob and Joel’s boss, Roland (Christopher Meloni), because there’s some hysterics at play.

Even though the odds are against them, Joel and Molly start falling in love. Sure, they break up about 2/3 of the way through the film but we all see it coming. Joel goes back to his ex-girlfriend, Tiffany (Cobie Smulders), while Molly dates her accountant, Eggbert (Ed Helms). You’d think there’s no chance of getting back together but then Molly becomes the runaway bride, leaving Eggbert to fend for himself at the altar. In typical rom-com fashion, Joel is the only person who knows where Molly is and everyone follows him. It’s just his luck that Molly’s ex-husband, Spike (Michael Shannon), is let out of jail at the same time. Another ex, Frank (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), also comes crawling back. It soon becomes the survival of Molly’s lovers. We know how it turns out, of course, because of where the film starts.

There are moments in the film that you really don’t expect but the script really goes there. Molly’s parents are white supremacists! They’d fit perfectly in Get Out! Meanwhile, halfway through, the film breaks the fourth wall for a music video for the Norah Jones song, “It Was The Last Thing On Your Mind.” Poehler’s Parks and Recreation co-star Adam Scott shows up as does Full House‘s John Stamos. Aside from this, there’s a few spoofs of the perfect romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally…

A number of David Wain regulars are in the cast but it wouldn’t be a David Wain film without them. What is amazing is just how many Marvel stars are in the movie. While Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man) and Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) are in the core cast, the film also includes Randall Park (Jimmy Woo) and Teyonah Parris (Monica Rambeau). Park would co-star as Rudd’s parole officer in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Given how many MCU titles have come out since 2014, you don’t have to look far. Funny enough, WandaVision’s Teyonah Parris plays a character named Wanda!

If you love romantic comedies, you’ll love They Came Together. Trust me on this!

DIRECTOR: David Wain
SCREENWRITERS: Michael Showalter & David Wain
CAST: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Cobie Smulders, Christopher Meloni, Max Greenfield, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper, Jason Mantzoukas, Melanie Lynskey, and Ed Helms, Michael Ian Black, Michael Murphy, Kenan Thompson, Jack McBrayer, Ken Marino, Teyonah Parris, Zandy Hartig, Noureen DeWulf, Michaela Watkins, Randall Park, Erinn Hayes

Lionsgate released They Came Together in theaters on June 27, 2014.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.