Every character in writer-director David Wain's romantic comedy parody "They Came Together" is a type and a joke: the "vaguely but not overtly Jewish" male lead (
Such surface gags are fine for the purposes of a sketch needling the conventions of Hollywood's boy-meets-girl factory product, but a feature-length lampoon needs more than rubbery performances, so-so silliness and the constant thrum of meta humor to make it a consistently amusing variation on a theme.
The early promise was that Wain's and co-writer Michael Showalter's movie would recall the inspired, nicely sustained cult yukfest "Wet Hot American Summer." Rather, they seem hampered by the fact that they've got to tell a romantic comedy story and make fun of it at the same time, and that leaves even the smart bits — the hackneyed circumstances that keep couples apart, a running gag on scene-ending expressions of poignant gratitude — feeling more archly amusing than laugh-worthy.
There's fun to be had in "They Came Together," but the sharper, more exuberant and — yes — heartfelt riff on the genre is already out there in "22 Jump Street."
"They Came Together"
MPAA rating: R for language and sexual content.
Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes.