There’s a generation-dividing joke in “She’s Out of My League” that measures the audience watching it.
When the heroine and her sidekick are on an airplane, they use an iPhone to make a last-minute call, even though the plane is about to take off. A passenger across the aisle reminds them they’re supposed to shut off their electronic devices.
Your response to the withering jokes directed at this guy will define your age group. If you think it’s funny that the women ridicule this middle-aged (ewww, gross) meddler trying to enforce federal aviation regulations against the sacred right to bear iPhones, then you will fit in the target audience.
If you don’t think it’s funny and you sympathize with the meddler against these nitwits, you’re too old to be watching “She’s Out of My League.” This one’s geared directly at the audience that makes or breaks most Hollywood films: males between the ages of 15 and 25.
And one of those males is the hero of the picture, needless to say.
Meet Kirk, played by Jay Baruchel, the scrawny kid from “Tropic Thunder” and “Knocked Up.” Nursing a breakup, nerdy Kirk finds himself in the unlikely position of being pursued by a picture-perfect woman, Molly (Alice Eve).
There are fantasies worked out all over the place, thanks to the script by Sean Anders and John Morris (they did “Sex Drive”), including the notions that women like Molly are really only interested in nice guys with a sense of humor and that Kirk’s lack of ambition and economic status don’t matter to Molly, herself a lawyer with a chic apartment.
The movie seeks to inhabit a younger niche within the Judd Apatow-style comic world, with the required posse of male buddies to counsel Kirk. The breakout star in the pack is T.J. Miller (“Cloverfield”), a quick-talking Seth Rogen type, with support from Mike Vogel and Nate Torrence.
Molly’s sidekick, also a required component of these movies, is played by Krysten Ritter. But the women aren’t allowed to be too funny in this film — that job falls to Kirk’s pals and his weird family.
And, in truth, there are some laughs in “She’s Out of My League,” even if the film overall has been stamped out of a cookie-cutter.
Baruchel is one of the many Diffident Young Men crowding the multiplexes these days, and he has a deft way with the reaction shot. The carefully cultivated target audience will recognize themselves immediately.