‘They Came Together’ is ridiculous, which means it’s not for everyone, because humor is subjective. But I sure liked it.
A spoof movie is a delicate thing. The absolute classics like Airplane! or Galaxy Quest work because they combine real characters and absurd situations to make a legitimately interesting movie, not just a simple parody. Sometimes a specific movie or movie series can be parodied like Spaceballs or Austin Powers, but in both cases the characters are more than just the caricaturish cardboard versions of the original characters. But get too ridiculous, and the movie becomes a different sort of animal; something like the under-rated UHF works by combining cliched drama story ideas with absurdism, and the Naked Gun series plays things mostly straight except for a few dips into slapstick.
There is, of course, the danger of using reference humor, which can quickly become dated and boring years later. I still like Not Another Teen Movie, but will those unfamiliar with the spate of 80′s and 90′s teen movies find it as uproarious as I do? Probably not. The absolute worst thing a spoof movie can do, though, is to become hateful and unfunny, like Epic Movie or (shudder) Date Movie, the worst movie I’ve ever seen. But that’s a really low bar I don’t expect to ever see met again.
They Came Together is the latest film from writer/director David Wain, known for the cult movie Wet Hot American Summer and the middling Wanderlust. This time, he pokes fun at the entire genre of romantic comedies, using more references in one movie than any one person’s likely to have ever seen. The movie is the story told by Molly (Amy Poehler) and Joel (Paul Rudd) to their friends Karen (Ellie Kemper) and Kyle (Bill Hader) over dinner of how they met and fell in love. From that moment on, the movie is told like an actual romantic comedy, except that every single scene is exaggerated and bursting with over the top absurdity.
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