I Love You, Man (2009)
Rated – R
Directed by John Hamburg
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones
Meet Paul Rudd. He is comedy’s equivalent to a wing-man as much as Barney is in ‘How I Met Your Mother’ (the reference is perfectly fitting and not obscure since Jason Segel stars in the CBS sitcom). He was a part of Will Ferrell’s news team in Anchorman, offered his clingy and sensitive side to Steve Carell in The 40 Year Old Virgin, showed Seth Rogen what it’s like to be married in Knocked Up, and alongside Seann William Scott he mentored kids in Role Models. In all of these roles, he graciously took a back seat and fulfilled the part of the supporting cast. Now, Paul Rudd finally has the chance to star in an R-rated comedy. Needless to say, he nailed it.
I Love You, Man is (I’m sorry but I just have to say it) a bromantic comedy – a romantic comedy but between two guys – starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel with a wide range of TV actors for its supporting cast. The premise is simple and silly enough to carry the film without anything feeling forced or out of place. Peter (Rudd) is engaged to Zooey (played by the beautiful Rashida Jones). While talking and planning out their ceremony, it became apparent that Zooey had a surplus of friends for brides maid while Peter had… well no friends (at least none that were guys). So Peter now desperately embarks on a number of man-dates to find a best man for the wedding.
Of the men he attempts to befriend: Barry (Jon Favreau), Doug (Thomas Lennon of Reno 911!), Mel Stein (Murray Gershenz), and Lonnie (Joe Lo Truglio)… none of them work out (in hilarious fashion). So Peter practically gives up and continues with his job as a real estate agent in Los Angeles trying to sell Lou Ferrigno’s (that’s right, the Hulk) mansion.
Finally, he meets Sydney Fife at an open house and his world changes. Heck, if I ever met a person like Sydney Fife my world would change too. Sydney a kind of guy who lives every day like it’s his last. He doesn’t have many responsibilities and just goes wherever his feet take him. He’s also brutally honest and open, yet has enough testosterone to fill his entire garage with, literally.
The whole brilliance of this movie is the relationship between Peter and Sydney. I think there are more guys on Peter’s side than most would like to admit, or even show. Sure, most guys have their group of guy friends who go hiking and play poker and drink at bars… but how many friends do guys have that extends even further than that? This is what Sydney teaches to Peter: the guidelines between best friends, the do’s and don’ts and the rights and wrongs in a relationship, what should remain confidential and what should be confronted, etc. Sydney brings out all the masculinity that has been hibernating inside of Peter all of his life. For Peter, it’s liberating to cut back and just yell his lungs dry.
Like traditional romantic comedies, Peter and Sydney hit a rough patch to suspend their fantasy perfect match. Though there are hardly any spoilers in romantic comedies, I won’t continue the plot synopsis because there were a few minor surprises along the way.
I Love You, Man is a laugh out loud affair. I didn’t expect any less from the duo of Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. I suspect that many of their scenes together were ad-libbed and only mildly scripted, which was the right choice. This is a stronger buddy film than Pineapple Express and a funnier film than Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Heck, this is the best Judd Apatow film that wasn’t produced by Judd Apatow. I was having such a good time during this film, I simply didn’t want it to end. And that’s saying a lot.