If you’re someone who’s not immediately enchanted and enthralled by the premise of older romantic comedies that would typically star someone like, let’s say, Meg Ryan, first of all, how dare you, and secondly, you’re probably in the target demographic for David Wain’s new film.
They Came Together is a charming rom-com starring the delightful pairing of Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd – yes, Leslie Knope and Bobby Newport have to overcome their differences to mack – with a bit of a difference from what we’re used to seeing. It’s a parody of all things romantic comedy, in this case You’ve Got Mail, the 1999 Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks masterpiece in particular, and it seems like it’s not going to hold back from nailing all the cliches that these types of characters fall into when haphazardly falling in love.
The premise for Together is your typical rom-com fare: Poehler plays a quirky, cool, confident knickknack shop owner who encounters a jerk of a corporate bozo at a party who wants to shut her business down. Like she’d associate with him ever again. He’s straight laced and probably wears suits and works in an office building downtown where he crushes dreams on a daily basis. But the first clip from the film shows that much like its inspiration, You’ve Got Mail, their worlds will be colliding more often than not.
Rudd and his brother, played by Max Greenfield (Schmidt!) collide with Poehler and her friend played by Teyonah Parris (Mad Men) while out at The Strand, a hip NYC bookstore. From her first biting words, to her friend’s quick departure from the scene, to their mutual sudden change of heart upon hearing the word “bubby” uttered for the first time, it’s clear that this is all familiar territory for those who know the genre: this is a conversation between people who are soooo in love and they don’t even know it yet. Right? Am I right, ladies?
It’s good that the task of parodying the genre has been tackled by Wain and his frequent collaborator, Michael Showalter (who co-wrote), rather than the likes of someone like the Aaron Seltzers and Jason Friedbergs of the world, the men who brought us genre spoofs like The Starving Games, Vampires Suck, Disaster Movie and (the somewhat like Together content-wise, if we’re stretching) Date Movie. By setting up a solid writing team and a stacked cast, which includes Ed Helms, Cobie Smulders, Michael Shannon, Christopher Meloni and Michael Ian Black, among others, it gives the chance for a funny film with a smart take on the genre, rather than just a gross out spoof.
In addition to the first clip from the film, the poster has also been released, which is taking the rom-com skewering to another new level. In the place of traditional pull quotes of praise from critics, the poster has mundane, factual quotes from a Deadline writeup about the movie. Why yes, Ed Helms is in this film.
The poster also has the distinction of featuring A.) the most beautifully nauseating photo of a couple carelessly letting life pass them by over a cup of coffee because they’re in love and B.) a tagline that could also double on a Nymphomaniac poster: “He came…She came…They came…They came together.” Hey-o!
They Came Together hits Sundance on January 24th.