Stainer has been friends with Kirk since grade school, but he's cold and analytical when it comes to scoring his friend on the 1 to 10 scale of desirability and looks.
"I love Kirky, but, let's face it, the guy's a 5," he insists. His friends elevate Kirk to a 6 for being nice and funny but subtract a point for driving a Dodge Neon.
Molly, on the other hand, is a "hard 10" and, according to the laws of Stainer, you cannot jump more than two points in the dating world. That puts Molly beyond Kirk's reach in "She's Out of My League," set and filmed in Pittsburgh.
The city has never looked more inviting. It made me want to live there -- and I already do.
3 stars = Good
- Starring: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, T.J. Miller.
- Rating: R for language and sexual content.
- Web site: www.getyourrating.com
Market Square alone, now a muddy construction site, was turned into a summery open-air restaurant with tablecloths, white twinkle lights, topiaries, a man fashioning balloon animals and lots of happy, shiny people strolling around after dark.
Filmed largely in spring 2008, the R-rated romantic comedy is like one big "Wish You Were Here" postcard with shots from a Penguins game, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh International Airport, polar bear exhibit at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Mount Washington overlook and PNC Park.
It doesn't get much better than this in its portrait of Pittsburgh where the four lead characters are former schoolmates working at the airport as security or ticketing agents or baggage handlers.
The airport is where TSA agent Kirk (Jay Baruchel) first encounters a knockout party planner named Molly (Alice Eve). She accidentally leaves her phone in a bin at a security checkpoint and invites him to a bash she's organizing at the Warhol so he can return it.
And then something from a bizarro world happens. Molly then asks Kirk to a Pens game, and it becomes apparent she's interested in him.
Most of his friends think that is a mathematical mismatch, given the above formula from Stainer (T.J. Miller). But Kirk and Molly start to date, to the astonishment of his buddies, ex-girlfriend and family and her parents and hunky former boyfriend.
As in all romcoms, though, they hit a couple of Pittsburgh-size potholes.
Londoner Jim Field Smith makes his feature-directing debut with "She's Out of My League," penned by the writers of the moronic "Sex Drive," a comedy about an 18-year-old who embarks on a road trip because he doesn't want to start college a virgin.
This is a much better screenplay that turns on the four leads and their chemistry. In addition to Mr. Baruchel and Mr. Miller, the core cast includes Nate Torrence as the only one of the four who is married and Mike Vogel as the ladies' man of the crowd.
The relationship between Mr. Baruchel and Ms. Eve, who played a sunny British blonde in "Starter for Ten" opposite James McAvoy, is sweet, as is the rapport among the pals. As Molly's business partner, Krysten Ritter brings a tartness and sharp tongue to the character of Patty.
The two most humiliating and raunchy scenes apparently were added late in the shoot, probably so the movie could have a couple of those Judd Apatow-style, jaw-dropping moments everyone talks about. And they will.
So, just to be clear: Chuck Aber, Neighbor Aber from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," plays a pilot, but the movie is rated R and absolutely not meant for the bashful or easily offended by language or sexual material. So don't take your maiden aunt out of the nursing home for the day just because it's set in her hometown.
Still, you have to love its goofy charm, its messages about honesty, dreaming big and disregarding the romantic rules of the game and rooting for an underdog, whether named Kirk or Pittsburgh.
Contact movie editor Barbara Vancheri at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1632. Read her Mad About the Movies blog at post-gazette.com/movies. First Published March 12, 2010 5:00 AM