They Came Together
They Came Together is an indie romantic comedy that premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and stars Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler. Don't feel bad, I never heard of it either. Never saw a trailer or a billboard, so when it popped up on my Netflix feed, I thought, "that's weird." And the reason was because it is weird: They Came Together is written by Michael Showalter and directed by David Wain.
On the surface it looks like a traditional rom-com (with perhaps an ill-advised title) but make no mistake, this is pure and inspired satire, and I don't just mean that it is a parody of romantic comedies. Allow me to illustrate the distinction: A parody imitates a source and fills it with humour, often poking fun at the original, but equally often assuages the audience that imitation truly is the highest form of flattery. Satire is strictly at the expense of the satirized. It is a public service. A call to action. An exposé wrapped in comedy.
They Came Together unshrouds clichés you didn't even realize existed, and didn't even know you hate. Other reviews have said the film does plenty to call attention to tired tropes and formulas, but doesn't do much to overcome them. To this, I say bullpucky. Like a march against corruption or a song against tyranny, raising awareness is the goal here. The message is that we want funnier romances, and original love stories... this is just a tribute.
They Came Together is streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Take a gander and raise your standards.