I Love You, Man – 3 stars (liked it)

I love you manPaul Rudd and Jason Segel are funny people- legitimately funny people. So why wasn’t “I Love You, Man” funnier? I think it’s because they knew they were being funny and it showed. In every single scene you could tell that the actors were having fun. And they should have had fun. It was a fun script. But sometimes the audience doesn’t want to see the actors having a good time – the audience wants to have a good time. Even with that one big shortcoming, I still sort of liked “I Love You, Man.”

It’s a fairly simple story with some fairly big laughs dotted throughout. Paul Rudd is Peter Klaven – a seemingly perfect fiance that, during the course of the wedding planning, he and his future bride-to-be, Zooey (Rashida Jones), realize he has no friends. Thus begins his search for a best friend. We see him attend numerous man-dates, some of which are set up by his mother (Jane Curtin) and the rest by his gay brother (played by Andy Samberg in a role that seemed completely unnecessary and was used primarily as an excuse for homophobic jokes). You can only imagine what happens on each of these dates. Eventually Peter gives up hope and goes about his daily business selling real estate. His most recent client happens to be Lou Ferrigno (I love it when Ferrigno plays himself. I’m glad he’s open to self-parody.) and at an open house of the Ferrigno estate, he meets Sydney Fife (Jason Segel). Sydney is every man’s idea of a best friend – single, carefree, offensive, and single.

Peter and Sydney seem to be complete opposites but what matters is that they complete each other. They appear to have nothing in common except for an unusally obsessive love of Rush, but they hit it off and spend most of every waking moment together. The moments with Peter and Sydney are the bright spots of the movie. They have converstions that every group of man-friends is familar with (probably too R-rated for me to mention here), have jam sessions together, and ride a Vespa throughout the city with reckless abandon. The movie takes a wrong turn, however, when Zooey is brought back into the plot. She feels that Syndey is taking up all of Peter’s time and she admits that she doesn’t think that Sydney likes her. So Peter tells Sydney about the conversation which Sydney turns back onto Peter as a conversation about why he’s even getting married. Naturally, Peter brings this up to Zooey who then storms out of the house leaving Peter left with no other choice but to break up with Sydney.

I understand movies and stories need conflict to remain somewhat interesting, but this plot just seems so cliche and recycled and it really serves no purpose except to set up the (inevitable and cliche) ending of the movie. As a matter of fact, the movie could have done without the scenes of Zooey and her friends completely. It all felt too gimmicky and came across as a glaringly obvious plot device. Yes, they had some funny moments and some funny lines (especially Zooey’s friends Barry and Denise played by Jon Favreau and Jamie Pressly) but we really could have done without. It reminded me of “Julie and Julia.” One storyline was certainly more interesting than the other and one could have been done away with altogether. The same is true for “I Love You, Man.” By the end, I didn’t even care that Peter and Zooey were getting married. I just wanted to see Peter and Sydney “slap some bass” and shred some axe and hang out in the man cave.

The bromance has certainly emerged as a genre of choice for many of the movie-going population. Some have been great (“Superbad” and “The Hangover” to name two), but the majority of them seem to be simply good. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but after awhile you can’t help but want more. And with “I Love You, Man” I wanted more of Jason Segel and Paul Rudd and what I was given was a heaping helping of mediocrity. But I guess a mediocre steak is still better than a good salad any day of the week, so go ahead and rent this or put it in your Netflix queue when you’re missing your man friends and hope that at least one of them is as cool as Sydney Fife.

MPAA Rating: R

Running time: 105 minutes

Starring: Paul Rudd (Peter Klaven); Jason Segel (Sydney Fife); Rashida Jones (Zooey Rice); Andy Samberg (Robbie Klaven); J.K Simmons (Oswald Klaven); Jane Curtin (Joyce Klaven); Jamie Pressly (Denise); Jon Favreau (Barry); Sarah Burns (Hailey)

Directed by: John Hamburg; written by Hamburg and Larry Levin; produced by Hamburg and Donald De Line. A Paramount Pictures release.

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~ by reeltoreel on October 7, 2009.

4 Responses to “I Love You, Man – 3 stars (liked it)”

  1. I liked this movie too 🙂 Not enough to buy it, but glad we watched it.

    • That’s pretty much how I felt. We made a nice dinner, popped in the movie, and had a pretty good night overall. Definitely not worth buying but worth watching.

  2. My comment will not be unbiased because Jason Segel stole my heart when he serenaded Lindsey with “Lady” in “Freaks and Geeks.” Paul Rudd had me at “You look like Pippi Longstocking.” I think these two guys made a great comedic team, a real yen-and-yang kind of pairing. Rudd in particular is very good at playing characters who are disgruntled or adorably clueless.

    Was it a little formulaic? Predictable? Possessed of yet another one of those maddening falling-in-love montages? Yes on all fronts. But I’m willing to forgive a lot for two leads this likable.

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