Review: I Love You, Man

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Director: John Hamburg
Screenplay: John Hamburg, Larry Levin
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Jaime Pressly, Andy Samberg, J.K. Simmons, Jon Favreau
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 104 min


With I Love You, Man, many were vocally worried and perhaps rightfully. A comedy that looks to be straight out of the Book of Apatow… without Apatow’s name in the credits? Apatow assures quality, many thought. This will be a lame attempt to cash-in on some recently successful stars and this style of comedy, others said. You can rest easy, gentlefolk, because this isn’t just a cash-in and it provides just as many laughs and has plenty of heart behind it. Despite being a big fan of both lead actors, I was a bit surprised: I didn’t just like this movie. I liked it a lot.

The story isn’t anything knew. It’s set up with your typical romantic comedy story – except, of course, flipped into a bromantic comedy. We follow Peter Klaven (Rudd) who in the opening scene proposes to his sweet and adorable girlfriend Zooey (Jones – who is great in this, I might add). We soon realize, through an exchange with his father (Simmons) and gay brother (Samberg), that Petey has always been a girlfriend guy – he lacks any close dude friends and as a result doesn’t really have a best man for his upcoming wedding, let alone any other guy friends to fill out the roster. Thus begins the desperate search for a best man, with assistance from his understanding fiancee and his brother. After some hilariously awkward “man-dates,” it isn’t long before Peter meets the laid-back and overly blunt Sydney Fife (Segel), in which Peter’s wife asks after their first man-date, “Is he the one?” as Peter matter-of-factly responds, “I don’t know. It’s too early to tell.”

Herein lies the flip, you see: the token wingman who the lead confides in is Peter’s significant other, while the romantic target is another dude, in which the prize is a same-sex platonic relationship. Change the need for a best man for a wedding into a date for the high school prom and flip Zooey and Sydney and you have a completely by-the-books romantic comedy. A simple and uncomplicated story by all means, but one that shows the awkwardness that can be the result of any bromance, particularly one that has to be formed after the social scenes of high school and college.

The real comedy, as expected, lies in the performances, in which everyone involved brings their funniest to the table. If you’re familiar with the actors and have enjoyed their work up to this point, then you are going to like this. Paul Rudd, as the awkward straight man, and Jason Segel, as the obnoxiously confident slacker friend, are buddy-comedy perfection and comedic gold. They have great chemistry and their ability to improvise much of their performances adds plenty to the humor, in the vain of other recent comedies starring these two and their close-knit pack of friends. Segel certainly has a long career ahead of him in Hollywood, that is for sure. Also, some particularly memorable moments come from Jon Favreau. I won’t spoil them, but it reminded me why I like that guy so much.

My real question is what took so long for these studios to realize how cool Paul Rudd is? From his early days as the so-cool-even-his-sister-wants-to-bang-him brother in Clueless and his blatant over-acting in that awful Halloween sequel that I liked as a kid, I’ve loved that man. Now with I Love You, Man (some would argue that we knew this last year with Role Models) we see full well that he can carry a wide-released comedy on his shoulders. He is just downright funny.

It has some expected potty-humor that may make some role their eyes and, as I said, the story is fairly simple and predictable, but the movie did what a comedy should always do: make me laugh throughout and feel fresh. There was never a laugh-until-it-hurts moment for me, but it is consistently funny throughout and the chemistry between Rudd and Segel provides much of that. It is also, much like Segel’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall (our review), one of those rare comedies that can trick girls into thinking they are watching a chick flick, but the fellow actually enjoys it much more. Obviously, it’s no Citizen Kane, but it is a great little comedy to check out for some mindless laughs with a date or some buddies after a long week of work or school. I have few complaints.



Links:
IMDb profile
Official Site

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Andrew James
Admin

Maybe I'm growing a pair of real cynical balls in my old age, but I didn't love this movie. It definitely has its moments and I was generally entertained, but this isn't something I will go back to again.

I like Paul Rudd a lot and Jason Segal is entertaining enough, but like you said, there were no over the top hilarious, laugh til you cry (or it hurts) moments. A necessity for me to give a high rating on a movie.

Then again, my sense of humor is just slightly drier than most.

Liked the LOST reference though. Heh.

murph
Guest

i agree with the review. i liked it a lot. i like how their roles were reversed from Forgetting Sarah Marshall too. these are two very diverse comedic actors, unlike say, Will Ferrell.

i have a very dry sense of humor too (you know, Wes Anderson, Lost in Translation type stuff), but this new laid back style of comedy still really tickles my funny bone. i don't need a laugh until i cry moment. Dr. Strangelove is the greatest comedy of all time and there are no laugh until i cry moments in it.

Andrew James
Admin

"Dr. Strangelove is the greatest comedy of all time and there are no laugh until i cry moments in it."

Very true. Maybe I'm just sick of the potty jokes. They're funny once; then never again. I prefer slightly more subtle humor… like Dr. Strangelove. Though A Fish Called Wanda and Airplane! crack me up every damn time.

Matt Gamble
Guest

these are two very diverse comedic actors, unlike say, Will Ferrell.

While his film roles aren't very diverse, that is what Farrell is known for, and its why he was so frequently compared to Phil Hartman when he was on SNL.

ralph
Guest

saw it. liked it. is there a name for this group like the rat pack or frat back or brat pack?

AladdinLasVegas.net
Guest

Maybe "teh appatow pack"? (the misspelling was on purpose)

Andrew James
Admin

I remember about halfway through the movie consciously realizing, “wow, I’m not really laughing much.”

I think I’m done with these types of comedies for a while. I don’t get the love for Forgetting Sarah Marshall or other movies of this ilk. I’m not bashing them, I just don’t think they’re for me.

ralph
Guest

andrew, the movies create REAL situations. REAL characters. not caricatures.

in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in most movie, Sarah would have been written as a conniving mean spirited cheater, when she is portrayed much more honestly, specifically during the scene in which he solemnly says, “I wish you would have just tried harder” while she begins to spill her heart about how hard she DID try, even going to counseling and so on, and you realize that sometimes that is just the way it goes. Relationships fall apart. There isn’t always someone to blame. Then the way that they portray the new boyfriend: pretty dang cool.

murph
Guest

yes, this movies do so well and are received by critics so well because they break the mold. they go against the typical stereotypes of the romantic comedy or the buddy comedy and present real situations with such authenticity, derived from good comedic actors and the fact that so much of it is improv.

Kent j
Guest

I spent most of the movie pissed off that it was going to become a medium to push a gay agenda, poorly, much like in and out with Kevin Kline.

I almost feel like the movie had an alternative ending that was just that.

Hey.. i have nothing against gays except the fact that they are AWEFUL pushy about their perversion.

So.. i got screwed by this flick when I could have enjoyed it.

I want a GAY WARNING on all movies from now on

Keep it on your side of the fence boys.

Rusty James
Guest

ha ha. If that wasn't meant as satire just keep your mouth and let us thinking you're a comedic genius. Keep up the good work.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I enjoyed the hell out of 'approving' of Mr. Kjs comment. Rusty certainly said it best. Comedy Genius. Perhaps better than the film in question even?

Rusty James
Guest

Things that are hilarious about that comment…

The title had him expecting a gay romance? Really?

He sat through the whole movie pissed off that a gay sex scene was imminent?? And then he was "screwed" when it never happened?

Why did this person go see this film? Keep it on your side of the fense? By his own account he went into it thinking it was about two men in love?

He wants a gay warning on ALL movies? Isn't that like if every car had one of those polls so you can spot it in the parking lot?

Anyways, it goes on and on. I layed the ground work you guys can build off it. Now if you'll excuse me off to go watch Fudge Packers 5. There better not be any fags in it! Dammit, it's about snack products! WTF.

Andrew James
Admin

He wants a gay warning on ALL movies? Isn’t that like if every car had one of those polls so you can spot it in the parking lot?

Only if they are pink. lolz

ralph
Guest

oh the gays are coming! the gays are coming! run away! call the national guard!