When Kirk returns a cell phone to Molly (Alice Eve), a stunning blonde who accidentally left it in a screening tray, he is like a hungry man looking at a feast that is off-limits. The self-described average Joe thinks that just to breathe the aroma of a smoking-hot goddess is all he deserves.
Then when Molly gives him a ticket to a Pittsburgh Penguins game, Kirk can't get his head around the possibility that Molly invited him as her date. When this is explained to the self-deprecating Kirk, he starts worrying about the disparity in their looks and their jobs.
Kirk reckons himself a 5 and Molly a "hard 10." Why, he wonders, would this voluptuous party planner for the Pittsburgh elite (with a law degree, besides!) be interested in an innocuous airport employee who resembles a human exclamation point?
The answer provided by the script from Sean Anders and John Morris (who wrote the better-than-average Sex Drive) is that Kirk is honorable and funny, qualities Molly hasn't often encountered in men. Still, Kirk is vulnerable to razzing by friends and family about why someone like Molly would like someone like him.
Directed by Jim Field Smith with obvious attention to the performers and total indifference to visual storytelling, League is a diverting showcase for Baruchel and Eve, who are excellent arguments for the proposition that there's more to a person than looks.
With his corrugated forehead and quizzical air, Baruchel (a familiar face from Knocked Up and Tropic Thunder) is endearingly funny. Like Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary, Eve (the Australian bombshell from Crossing Over) deftly refocuses attention from her centerfold assets to her character's bighearted warmth.
Likewise memorable are Nate Torrence as Devon, Kirk's hopeless-romantic friend who takes the lyrics to the songs in Disney animated musicals as gospel, and Krysten Ritter as Molly's sweet 'n' sour best friend.
Unfortunately, the filmmakers reach for moves from the Judd Apatow playbook, including the requisite sexual-humiliation scene and the superfluous male-grooming moment. The latter involves "manscaping," that is, shaving the privates. Fortunately, the actors are so likable that these wincingly unfunny moments don't spoil the party.
Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey
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