They Came Together

May 2, 2015


They Came Together is a nice spoof on the romantic comedy. Its humor does not border on the agitated unfunny, where its visible efforts of trying to hard still come across as comical. I liken it to Airplane! or the Naked Gun series but without the dorkiness.


It’s interesting how comedy really another style of critique. But has it always been? That is to ask, what meakes something funny in the first place? It is hard to separate oneself from the dominance of observational humor, a category which They Came Together unquestionably falls into. It has so permeated the mass culture that it is hard to think of any other form of comedy that is not making light of the mundane. But perhaps when we examine the existence of the dramatic arts as bringing forward from the instinctual experiences of mankind truths about his condition, with one side of the coin bringing a tear and the other side bringing a laugh, we see that the very essence of the art is in critiquing, albeit the expressive format is through the passions and not through the overtly mental and noumenal rhetoric. It is to say that the dramatic arts like all art forms bring us truth about humanity that is inarticulable through the ratiocinating lens of the mind.


The film then is making fun of the whimsy of commercial box-office films that wish to sugarcoat and eggwash the navigation of love in a romcom. Where romance is not lost but found, and whatever tension that is enacted is so flaccid it does not tear at the pleasurable almost escapist enjoyment of the audience – they know it is such a temporary blip on the screen to be reconciled at the end.


This trope then is what is laughed at. Would we say mock, though? Mockery almost signifies an element of condescension and contempt or displeasure at the existence of what is being examined. They Came Together does not develop humor which is disdainful at the romcom commercial fare, which is why I’m hesistant to call its poking as something scornful, which is what makes it such an enjoyable thrill compared.


This speaks to the talent on-board and most likely the writing toward developing humor that doesn’t make an effort at efforts of humiliation shrouded as comedy. It takes an extra level of effort in other words to be light-hearted at the whimsy being laughed at. In other words, this type of film could have veered into mocking the fans of romantic comedies for their guilty pleasures by meticulously dissembling the absurd imaginative fantasy these movies depict, signifying the childishness of the fans who are really drawn more to Jennifer Aniston and the male lead than the story itself.


It’s to say that this film had a choice to direct its effort at potshots, but instead chose to elevate itself and laughing at the absurdity of romantic comedy narratives in its own sake without vaingloriously trying to score any more points beyond that.


Grade: A-



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