Michael Showalter

Lionsgate

Joe (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler) have a funny story about how they met, but it may be one you’ve heard before. David Wain and co-writer Michael Showalter pull together some familiar faces for They Came Together which sends up the romantic comedy genre with funny, and surprisingly layered, results. As Joe and Molly recount their story over dinner with their friends Karen (Ellie Kemper) and Kyle (Bill Hader) the classic tropes are quickly laid out for all four characters – Joe worked for a large corporation that threatened to put Molly’s quirky shop out of business while Karen and Kyle’s marriage may (not so secretly) be on the rocks. The script’s on-the-nose descriptions of each character (as described by the characters themselves) actually works to frame them as self-aware people forced to play out roles we have seen before and allows the hilarious cast to play within those lines.

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Director David Wain has been a big name in the alternative comedy scene for a long time due to his work on The State and Stella, but he’s still looked at as something of a neophyte in the world of feature films. He’s directed one cult hit with his weird summer camp spoof Wet Hot American Summer, and one mainstream hit with his criminals-turned-mentors movie Role Models; but his last film, Wanderlust, kind of came and went with only a whimper. Let’s just chalk that up to the fact that it had Jennifer Aniston in the lead, though. Has anyone ever heard of a comedy she was in making any money? Undaunted by the terrors of possible obscurity, Wain is going back to the drawing board and putting together another project. Variety has word that it’s a comedy called They Came Together, and that it comes from a screenplay that has deep roots in Wain’s past. He co-wrote the film with fellow The State and Stella member Michael Showalter right after Wet Hot American Summer came out. It was a simple time, before Wain had to concern himself with things like studio concerns and mainstream relatability. Which begs the question – will this long unproduced script see Wain returning to his more absurdist comedic roots? And, if that’s the case, will a healthy dose of weird be what it takes to re-engage the eyeballs of a public who all but ignored his last project?

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David Wain might have missed the 9:00 appointment ten years from when all the campers of Wet Hot American Summer got together, but he may still have a chance to see who they’ve all blossomed into. If you’re not getting the references here, go watch the movie. Don’t tell anyone you haven’t seen it. Just calmly, quietly watch it (instantly). According to an interview Wain did for The Q&A With Jeff Goldsmith, the writer/director has been thinking about doing a “sequel, prequel, something or other” to get the gang back together. That gang includes Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and many, many, many other comedians wearing shorts that are too small for them. If Wain goes with his prequel idea, it would see actors in their late 30s and early 40s playing 20-year-old camp counselors, and there’s not one thing wrong with that.

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turnedon-wethotamerican

This week, Bethany discovers that she’s not the only thing wet and hot this summer.

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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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