This Italian romantic drama really picks up in the second half when it stops trying so hard to be quirky and settles into a sincere love story.
Out of My League seems to have borrowed a few pages out of the Amelie playbook (the 2001 French hit) -- from the eccentric protagonist with a pageboy haircut to the film's red/green/yellow palette and accordion music. The difference is that Amelie was appealing because she wanted to do good in the world, while League's Marta just wants to "do" a handsome guy. She's looking for a romantic experience before she dies, so you understand her single-mindedness, but the build-up to their first date is an awkward jumble of forced scenes.
There are some funny one-liners (there's "more dignity in being rejected by someone out of my league") and a cute bit involving how she transforms her job reading daily grocery store discounts over a loudspeaker into a sexy voice performance. Marta's best friends slash housemates slash substitute parents are annoyingly available at her every whim -- don't these people have day jobs?
Marta warns us at the start that this isn't like those trendy teen tearjerkers where the dying kid is perfect and popular. But, in fact, Marta is adorable. This is hit home during a montage where she auditions a variety of first date outfits. When the handsome, wealthy Arturo falls for her, it's a lot less surprising than the film wants us to believe. And when her illness inevitably comes between them, it's as heartbreaking as the film intends.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.