They Came Together (2014)

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Released 24-Sep-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes
Trailer-x 3 for other films
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 79:54
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Wain
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Paul Rudd
Amy Poehler
Bill Hader
Ellie Kemper
Cobie Smulders
Ed Helms
Case ?
RPI ? Music Matt Novack
Craig Wedren


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     They Came Together starts with two couples having dinner at a New York restaurant. They are Joel (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler), and Kyle (Bill Hader) and Karen (Ellie Kemper); Joel and Molly start to talk about how they got together and one character comments that “if this were a movie it would probably start with aerial shots of the Manhattan skyline” and the credits then start with aerial shots of the Manhattan skyline. We are in spoof romantic comedy territory and nothing is serious or real.

     The story of when Joel met Molly then plays out with frequent returns to the restaurant for the comments and impressions of Kyle and Karen. Joel is a high flying executive with a confectionary conglomerate, Molly the owner of a small candy store under threat from Joel’s company. When they meet at a Halloween party they initially dislike each other but quickly find that they have a lot in common and fall in love. But true love does not run smooth of course, and before they finally get together they face a series of obstacles including Joel’s sexy but unfaithful ex-girlfriend Tiffiny (Cobie Smulders), Molly’s amorous accountant (Ed Helms), Molly’s white supremacist parents and various enemies, relatives and well-meaning friends. Not to mention the confectionary conglomerate!

     They Came Together is the work of co-writers Michael Showalter and David Wain (who also directs and adds a few songs). Their credits are mostly in TV (Wain jointly winning Prime Time Emmys for Childrens Hospital in 2012, 2013 and 2014), and the two have worked together before on the TV series Stella (2005); indeed many of the cast worked with Showalter and Wain in their 2001 feature Wet Hot American Summer, a parody on American summer camps and films like Meatballs that is as silly as it sounds.

     They Came Together is not as dumb as Wet Hot American Summer but it still throws together a myriad of jokes, including in-jokes, parodies, puns, sight gags and references to films like You’ve Got Mail or When Harry Met Sally, and hopes that some of them work. Some do but while They Came Together is mildly humorous, laugh out loud moments were rare. The film is rated MA, the Classification Board noting “strong sex scenes, sexual references and coarse language” but the main sex scene is shown in silhouette only and played totally for laughs. For the rest, the humour in the film is predictable, harmless and inoffensive, avoiding gross out moments and with only has a couple of (unseen) bodily functions jokes.

     They Came Together as a spoof that only partly works but is almost impossible to dislike, especially with this cast. Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler (who won a Golden Globe in 2014 for her role in Parks and Recreation) are good together and I enjoyed the deadpan contributions of Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     They Came Together is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original theatrical ratio being 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a nice print. It is sharp and detailed with strong glossy colours. Blacks and shadow detail are fine, brightness and contrast consistent and skin tones natural without showing that yellowish digital tinge.

     Other than a bit of slight shudder in the end titles, artefacts and marks are absent.

    English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available in a largish white font.

     The layer chance at 65:01 created a slight pause during a scene change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The feature audio is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 Kbps. The audio commentary and descriptive audio are both Dolby Digital 2.0 at 256 Kbps.

     This is a dialogue driven film and thankfully all the dialogue is clear, centred and easy to understand. The surrounds and rears were used primarily for music and the odd ambient effect, such as at parties. I did not notice any subwoofer use, except for the music.

     The music score by Matt Novack and Craig Wedren was hardly noticeable. More obvious were a number of pop songs, including some by David Wain and Amy Miles, and especially the video clip by Norah Jones inserted into the middle of the film.

     Lip synchronisation fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers (6:39)

     Trailers for Edge of Tomorrow, Draft Day and Price Check play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

Audio Commentary – Director David Wain and Writer Michael Showalter

     Wain and Showalter have known each other, and worked together, for a long time and it shows as they have an easy rapport, chat freely and even contradict each other. This is not a technical commentary and they talk a lot about previous things they have done as well as locations, the tone of the film, influences and the type of jokes they like. There is a bit too much of “this is my favourite joke / scene” but it is still an OK listen.

Deleted Scenes (27:19)

     Twenty-five sections with deleted scenes, alternative takes, extended scenes and an extra sub-plot or two. Some are mildly amusing.

They All Came Together Featurette (23:00)

     This is quite interesting and more than a standard making of. It includes film footage, stills, footage from the read through at Sketchfest San Francisco and the cast and crew on stage at Sundance 2014 after a screening of the film plus comments from Michael Showalter and David Wain, the DP and eight of the main cast members. Topics covered include the genesis of the film, influences, New York, editing, making comedy and the framing device. Definitely worth watching.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region A US Blu-ray of They Came Together contains the same extras but adds a theatrical trailer for the film and a cast read through (103:58). I cannot find any reviews of the Region 1 US DVD to see if it also includes this extra or not. Call it a draw for now until more information is available.

Summary

     They Came Together is a spoof on the romantic comedy genre that throws together a myriad of jokes and hopes some work. While the film is mildly humorous and the cast good, laugh out loud moments were rare.

     The DVD has good video and audio. The extras are worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, January 02, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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