The answer is quite simple. In the process of picking apart and laughing at the clichés of romantic comedies, They Come Together feels not different or clever, merely familiar. It falls into the bad-spoof trap of failing to tell an original story of its own. Indeed, They Came Together isn't much better than those wretched Scary Movie installments, all of which merely ape scenes and lines from the latest horror franchises. They don't actually try and tell an amusing story into which the parodies and references can be mixed.
They Came Together is laugh-out-loud funny for about twenty minutes, until it goes completely stale and you start to feel that through some ingenious maneuvering of space and time you've been teleported to the Hallmark Channel. I grew restless. I perused my email. I sighed. I checked the remaining running time over and over. And it's mercilessly short at 83 minutes, but those minutes couldn't have gone by fast enough. What's so depressing about this movie is the sheer waste of talent. It would have been far better for them to have put the full power of their energy, intelligence, and comic wit and spontaneity into making a legitimate romantic comedy that was equal parts original and intelligent and funny. Instead, it's a forgettable pastiche that feels lazily contrived with nothing but a smarmy distaste for a popular genre, one that is an especially easy target.
With Cobie Smulders, Max Greenfield, Christopher Meloni, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper, Jason Mantzoukas, Melanie Lynskey, Ed Helms, Michael Ian Black, plus cameos by, among others, Norah Jones, Ken Marino, Jack McBrayer, Adam Scott, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Michael Shannon, and Judge Judy. Directed by David Wain. Written by Wain and Michael Showalter.