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Film / She's Out of My League

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She's Out of My League is a 2010 American Romantic Comedy. It was directed by Jim Field Smith and written by Sean Anders and John Morris.

The premise starts simple enough: boy (Kirk (Jay Baruchel)), an airport security agent) meets girl (Molly (Alice Eve)), an event planner), and through a series of circumstances end up falling in love. But Molly's very attractive, while Kirk doesn't consider himself much of a catch — and neither do his friends, who pick at him for being luckier than they think he deserves. Thus he's scared of losing her, even before her gorgeous ex-boyfriend Cam (Geoff Stults) steps in on the scene and declares that he will do all in his power to get her back.

Has examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Kirk's brother Dylan asks Molly if they're together because she "hit his car", which is a reference to Alice Eve's role in the 2006 drama Crossing Over as an illegal immigrant forced into a relationship with an immigration agent (played by Ray Liotta) after hitting his car. Additionally, Alice Eve also had a role in a biographical drama about Stephen Hawking, who is mentioned in the discussion about real-life Ugly Guy, Hot Girlfriend couples.

  • Abusive Parents: Not abusive, necessarily, but really dismissive of Kirk's feelings. They show Kirk much less affection than they do for his brother, they side with his ex-girlfriend after she dumps him (to the point of inviting her on family vacations), and his dad buys a pool instead of sending Kirk to college.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted for Molly, most likely as a result of Wrong Guy First. She states she wanted to date Kirk because she was tired of bad boys/cocky "hot" guys and the fact she was tired of guys putting her a pedestal that she could not live up to. Not to mention her last boyfriend Cam cheated on her.
  • Alliterative Name: For both Kirk (Kettner) and Molly (McCleish).
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Kirk's classless and perverted white trash family.
  • Amicable Exes: By the third act, Marnie's broken up with Ron to resume her relationship with Kirk. He's still on good enough terms with her to go on the plane trip to Branson.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: To some extent. When Molly is going through airport security, Kirk's the only one who's polite to her and doesn't attempt to make sleazy passes at her (which she's probably become used to by this point).
  • Beta Couple: Subverted with Stainer and Patty - they go from loathing each other to... loathing each other, only co-operating for the benefit of their respective best friends.
  • Betty and Veronica: Kirk is the Betty and Molly's ex, Cam, is the Veronica for Molly's Archie, while Molly and Marnie play with the Betty and Veronica stereotypes for Kirk.
  • Bigger Is Better: Jack pulls out a massive wrench to stop the plane.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Kirk's rival, Cam, is already taller, better-looking, and more successful than Kirk, but the real kicker comes when he gets into his plane and they see his handle painted on the side, which is "Foot Long".
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Kirk's friends: Devin (big), Stainer (tall and thin) and Jack (short).
  • Brick Joke: Early on, as Molly chooses a dress for her first date with Kirk, her Dumb Blonde sister Cathy considers buying a very tacky dress. Later, when Kirk brings Molly to a family gathering, his ex Marnie appears at lunch wearing the same dress, trying to one-up Molly.
  • Crossing the Burnt Bridge: Kirk near the end on an airplane finally loses his temper and tells his family what he thinks of them calling them all out, but when he tries to leave the stewardess informs him the hatch has already been closed and can't leave, forcing him to spend the flight with the family he just disowned.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Molly's father, a veteran pilot, doesn't approve of Kirk, so much so that Molly has to lie that Kirk's in aviation. Averted for Molly's ex Cam, who's also a pilot.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: One of Kirk's friends, who is happily married, gets a little obsessed when he hears that a woman other than his wife finds him attractive.
  • Dumb Blonde: Molly's sister. She has no tact, shows up at a social event with a see-through shirt, then proceeds to mix the drinks on a tray she's carrying and drinks them herself. She also picks food off the ground and puts it back onto the same tray, after which she offers it to the guests, absent-mindedly informing them the food has been dropped. She also has a taste for clothes like Kirk's ex, which is not flattering at all.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Kirk's family actively try to embarrass him and are deeply incredulous at him going out with Molly. His brother specifically enjoys tormenting him, even though they are both grown adults. They also "practically adopted" his ex who manipulates him, and her new boyfriend.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Kirk''s four friends:
    • Kirk can't get over his bitchy and manipulative ex-girlfriend. Then he's too insecure when he gets together with Molly.
    • Stainer's girlfriend dumped him because he was afraid of not being good enough for her, but he didn't realize it (until she spelled it out for him afterwards) and ended up believing in the scale system.
    • Devon gushes about how Happily Married he is, but gets too excited when a woman at a party thinks he's hot.
    • Jack slept with Devon's wife.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Stainer originally had this, but Kirk told him to adopt the nickname so it couldn't be used against him.
  • Fan Disservice: Kirk's scene shaving his genitals (although nothing is seen). For one, he cuts himself twice.
  • Fat and Skinny: Kirk and his brother; Dylan is fat, Kirk is skinny.
  • Fat Bastard: Kirk's brother Dylan is a heavyset bully (it isn't said who's older between him and Kirk).
  • Feet-First Introduction: The first thing we see of Molly is her feet as she steps out of a Taxi.
  • Flipping the Bird: Kirk’s brother does this after Kirk’s "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Kirk and his friends.
    • Stainer: The Cynic, since he believes that Kirk and Molly will not work out.
    • Devin: The Optimist, who is confident that Kirk will succeed.
    • Kirk: The Realist, who is the middle ground between Stainer and Devin.
    • Jack: The Apathetic, who has the least involvement in the story.
  • Fruit Cart: There's a chase scene of sorts, in the airport, using those little electric carts. Even in the absence of fruit, they work in a fruit cart collision.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: This might seem like the whole premise, but the film plays with the nuances and even deconstructs some of the mentality behind this trope.
  • Going Commando: Molly claims to be doing this in one scene, but it's likely she was lying to avoid having to swim with Kirk's brother. Later in the movie we learn that she does, indeed, wear underwear when she strips down to her bra and panties in front of Kirk.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Marnie has this when she sees that her ex got a beautiful girlfriend. She immediately pulls out the gift that Kirk made for her and tries to throw their old relationship in Molly's face.
  • Groin Attack: Kirk’s brother gets hit in the crotch with a hockey puck.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Beautiful blonde Molly is shown as being easy-going, optimistic and loving Kirk for who he is.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Molly is introduced doing a Supermodel Strut while several males are Distracted by the Sexy in succession.
  • Hidden Depths: Kirk is surprised when Molly not only understands what's going on at the hockey game but actually seems to understand more than him. In a deleted scene, she also gives him tips for the move that wins him the game with Dylan, as he had no strategy but hit as hard as he can. It's implied she knows so much about hockey because she dated the player who bumped into the fence in front of her during the game.
    Scott Reese: [bumps into the fence] Hi Mol!
    Kirk; Scott Reese knows you?
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: Kirk's family all wear yellow sweatshirts stamped with "Branson Bound" on their weekend getaway and force Kirk into one too. He's really happy to take it off when his friends stop the plane.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Stainer is boisterous and flamboyant, which serves as a (flimsy) façade to hide his loads of insecurities, which his ex points out.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Kirk, who attempts to sabotage his own relationship with Molly more than once because he can't get over his disbelief that a gorgeous woman is really interested in him.
  • Instant Seduction: Jack seduces Molly's sister in a deleted scene, on her own birthday party no less
    Jack: I'm Jack by the way. I'm a F-16 pilot.
    Kathy: You're TSA... I'm not going to sleep with you! (leaves)
    Jack: In 2... 1...
    [Kathy comes back and takes a swig of his beer.]
  • Jerkass: Kirk's psycho ex and everyone in his family, minus his mother.
  • Jerk Jock: Molly's ex, Cam, is a cocky, macho (callsign: Foot Long) pilot who belittles Kirk for being stuck as airport security. He employs Dirty Social Tricks such as pretending to mistake Kirk for either waitstaff or Molly's gay friend to humiliate him, then lets slip that Molly has some defect so that Kirk's insecurities make him curious and ruin his and Molly's relationship.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Stainer. He's aggressive and brash, but he gets this way when he tries to protect his friends.
  • Jizzed in My Pants: Poor Kirk. While Molly is rubbing up against him in his lap as they kiss, he gets so aroused he loses control and ejaculates. To make things even worse it happens literally seconds before Molly's parents enter the room. The dog also licks Kirk's crotch, which is wet with his jizz. Yuck.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Stainer acts rude to a lot of people, but sometimes you can't help but root for him, because some of them (like Marnie and Fuller, the gang's sleazy boss) really deserve it.
  • Light Feminine Dark Feminine: Molly, who is blond, optimistic and easy-going, and Patty, who is dark-haired, snarky and cynical.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Kirk's family (as well as his ex and her new boyfriend) who are all (except for his mother) shallow, petty and boorish people. Kirk has some of those habits as well, like excessive swearing, but he makes a bigger deal out of it than he should.
  • Manchild: Devin, who is naïve and unironically quotes Disney fairy tales. In a different way, Stainer who's immature and brash, lashes out at anyone who isn't his friends and has some shallow and even toxic beliefs.
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: Naturally, there's one at the airport where Kirk works, where one perverted airport security guard sets off the metal detector when pretty women pass through it to force them to undress. When he tries doing it to Molly, Kirk intervenes on her behalf, which is how the two first meet.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Kirk. He's kind and doesn't act creepy toward Molly, which is why she's initially attracted to him.
    • Cam uses this guise to plant in Kirk's head the idea that Molly has some sort of defect.
  • Noodle Incident: Stainer.
    Stainer: I am an insane motherfucker! You know that from the break room!
  • Overreacting Airport Security: Kirk and Stainer's manager tries to hold up Molly, obviously because of her attractiveness, but Kirk gets him to stop.
  • Politeness Judo: Molly never sinks down to the level of Kirk's family with their crude remarks and lowbrow jokes. She maintains a calm, polite demeanor the entire time and occasionally drops some politely veiled retort (such as bluffing about wearing no underwear or telling Dylan and Debbie what commission she would take for planning their supposedly expensive wedding they were bragging about, which is far more expensive than what they can afford) to shock them into silence. She looks quite pleased with herself when she does it, too.
  • Race for Your Love:
    • A gender-inverted version of this trope. Whereas many romantic comedies end with the man chasing the woman through an airport so that he can declare his love to her before she flies out of his life forever, in this film Molly chases Kirk through the airport. Once Jack is able to force the plane to disembark, Kirk tries to race to her, pursued by Marnie (see next bullet point).
    • Parodied with Marnie, who pursues Kirk out of pure jealousy, knocking him down while he attempts to get to Molly.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Many.
    • Kirk gives one to his whole family (minus his mom) and Marnie on the plane. He intended to get off the plane but couldn't... and boy were they pissed. It becomes a Deconstructed Trope when the speech doesn't magically win him the situation, so he's stuck with his boorish and angry family members. At least until his friends stop the plane.
    • Devon also lays into Kirk's other friends for both their constant ragging on him and their supposed knowledge about the opposite gender, pointing out that for all their supposed wisdom and experience, they're just jealous and insecure and don't know nearly as much as they pretend:
    Devon: You know what, Stainer? All it takes is one. Man, you... You guys sit here and talk about relationships but the truth is, I'm the only one here that's married. Yeah, and I'm tired of you guys busting my nuggets 'cause I've only been with one girl. It's 'cause she was the right girl. That's why I married her.
    • Molly gives one to Kirk, citing each deduction that she sees that would bring him to a "five".
    Molly: You know what, Kirk? Maybe you're right. Maybe you are a five. You know why? No self-esteem. Deduct a point. Every time someone walks into a room, you compare yourself to them. Deduct a point. You're a smart and talented guy who's afraid to do anything with it. Deduct a point. Um, how are we doing? Oh, oh yeah. Hoping I have a defect that you can work with? Deduct whatever's left!
    • This is inverted slightly by the fact that Molly lied to her parents about Kirk's line of work and later admits she asked him out because she thought he was "safe".
  • Sexiness Score: The premise of the film is the Unequal Pairing of Kirk and Molly, with characters often using this trope to point it out, claiming he's a 5 or a six while she's a "hard 10". The tagline of the movie is even "How can a 10 go for a 5?".
  • Shout-Out: Devon compares Jack to Yoda and imitates his speech pattern.
  • Sliding Scale of Beauty: Molly is considered a perfect 10.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Molly bemoans being placed on a pedestal as "perfect", when she honestly has plenty of her own hang-ups, insecurities, and flaws. The movie primarily focuses on how it's a bit of a curse from Kirk's point of view, since he has to deal with his own insecurities and the petty jealousy and spite of those around him, which consciously or unconsciously work to sabotage the relationship.
  • Straw Loser: Kirk may be presented as just an average guy, but he looks great next to assholes like his lecherous boss at the airport and especially his brother, who is fat, dumb, boorish, wears tighty-whities, and is a sore loser. They're the "1"s to Kirk's supposed "5", basically.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Patty reacts like this to everyone that happens to act stupid at some point: the complainer on the plane, Molly's sister, and Stainer. Also, to Kirk at times.
  • Supermodel Strut: Molly's first scene in the airport has her strutting around like a supermodel, which causes several men to turn to stare at her. She seems to be doing it unconsciously too, with the intention being to demonstrate to audience how naturally "sexy" she is.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Kirk's friends, family, and ex worsen his self-esteem issues. His mom is the exception in that she's unconditionally supportive and, later, Devon calls out Kirk's friends for punching him down.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Hot girlfriend. Molly's ex initially assumes Kirk must be gay for them to be out socially together. Though he really isn't ugly. Other than being skinny, he's fairly attractive. Most everyone else thinks.
  • What Does She See in Him?: That's what he said.
  • The Unfair Sex: The movie explores this. Marnie is treated as completely in the wrong for dumping Kirk and hanging out with his family, only wanting him back when he wants to move on. Molly also admits that she was unfair to Kirk; even if his insecurities sucked and sabotaged their relationship, she also saw him as a "safe" guy and not for who he really was.
  • The Un-Hug: Kirk's nasty ex Marnie gives him an awkward hug, (then pushes him away) after he reluctantly gives her his blessing to accompany his family on a trip with her new boyfriend.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Molly calling out Kirk on his self-confidence and insecurity issues.
  • Woman Scorned: Marnie only starts chasing Kirk because Molly shows interest in him.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Kirk hits Marnie over the head when she tries to chase him down at the airport, and ends up knocking her down from a baggage cart. Granted, she was rabid and was trying to beat him down.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Stainer seems to attempt deiberately invoking Belligerent Sexual Tension with Patty. She's genuinely repulsed.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The aesop.