They Came Together is a parody of romantic comedies from the director of Wet Hot American Summer and, like Wet Hot American Summer, it’s as much a series of loosely connected, brilliantly inspired sketches as a coherent or self-contained film. It opens in a restaurant, where Joe (Paul Rudd) and Molly (Amy Poehler) are on a double date whith their friends Kyle (Bill Hader) and Karen (Ellie Klemper). When Joe and Molly are asked that perennial double date question – how did you meet? – they take us through a series of flashbacks that occupy most of the film, and which poke fun at the lineage of New York romcoms with a comprehensiveness and detail that’s quite cinephilic. For the most part, it's much broader than American Summer, but it embraces its goofiness with a lack of self-awareness that often gravitates it towards the repetition-compulsions of the Zuckers, and the Naked Gun franchise in particular, as everybody continually takes everybody at their word, with catastrophic consequences. However, what’s perhaps most striking about the film is that the romcoms it’s parodying have fallen out of favour long ago, to the point where it feels as if the very gesture of parody is somehow also an effort to bring back their peculiar brand of breathless credulity, their lost power to mediate dates, meet-cutes and even whole relationships. As both a parody and an elegy for credulity, then, the more or less direct address to the audience doesn’t ever feel grating, knowing, or even especially self-referential. Instead, it’s merely a cipher for that capacity romantic comedies might once have had to reach out, touch you and involve you in their world, a series of contagious poses and postures that are now somehow only available through parody, even if parody is well and truly redundant by this point in time. In that sense, it’s quite a bittersweet gesture, reiterating and celebrating the canon of (New York) romantic comedies as much as it parodies it. And that’s an ideal vehicle for Poehler and Rudd, who are great at tempering their comic presence with just the slightest touch of melancholy, perfect for characters whose best is almost behind them.