Once You Go Geek...: She's Out of My League
When it comes to comedy's current cyclical nature, the dork is the new dreamboat, while the good looking loser is the lynchpin for every possible punchline.
Last time anyone checked, The Bible didn't state that the "geek" would inherit the Earth. Yet when it comes to comedy's current cyclical nature, the dork is the new dreamboat, while the good looking loser is the lynchpin for every possible punchline. We have gone from jocks going gross-out to garner a laugh or two to feebs feeling marginalized by a society that embraces their smarts but balks at their bodies. While we are still striving to find a balance between the hotness and the guy/gal with the good personality hook-up, movies have always made the case for love conquering all -- or at the very least, conquering romantic comedy expectations.
Such is the case with the innocuous if spry and sunny She's Out of My League (new on Blu-ray from Paramount). Instead of the wimp washing out here - in this case, a mild mannered airport security worker named Kirk (Jay Baruchel) - he actually gets a chance at the girl - an incredibly sexy party planner named Molly (Alice Eve). What happens next both entertains and aggravates, the storyline so pie in the sky that bakers are getting vertigo. Yet what we eventually learn is that Ms. Maxim will embrace the socially stagnant when she discovers that they have much more heart (and a lot less headaches) to give.
Now while this may seem like a relatively new approach to comedy, it's actually something that the genre has been playing around with for decades. The only difference is that now the symbolic slackers are more grungy than gauche. Indeed thanks to Judd Apatow and his Knocked Up 40 Year Olds, the isolated and insecure are the new sought after sweethearts. Either women are lowering their standards or wisening up to the drawbacks of dating an ab-slab d-bag. Looking back, we can see ten earlier examples of how the hindered battled the handsome for ultimate romantic bragging rights. While not as prevalent a today, these geeks still found a way to overcome stereotype to land the ladies.
Joey Ramone (Rock and Roll High School)
The "Zeroes" and "Zeroines" of John Hughes
Rupert Pupkin (The King of Comedy)
Sid Vicious (Sid and Nancy)
Paulie Bleeker (Juno)
Chris Knight (Real Genius)
David Lightman (WarGames)