And I Love You!
Director: John Hamburg
Notable Cast: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Jamie Pressly, Andy Samburg, J.K. Simmons, Jane Curtain, Jon Favreau
Sydney Fife is the type of guy I would want as a friend. He’s light-hearted, speaks his mind and appears crazy to strangers (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And his life as a bachelor, while a complete one eighty to Steve Carell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, is more enriching than someone who’s about to take that giant romantic leap and say “I do.”
The “someone” in this case is Peter (Paul Rudd). Peter is a real-estate agent in the midst of the housing crisis. He’s hopeless at work and, as we come to find out, at making friends. Everyone has that one friend that has something witty to add to the conversation. Peter is not that guy. He gets along great with the opposite sex, but he has no real male friends. Peter needs a friend like Sydney (Jason Segel) – a guy that shares common interests but is more extroverted. I take that back, he needs a male friend period. On the heels of his engagement to girlfriend Zooey (Rashida Jones), Peter needs to find a man. The best one he can.
Presented as a romantic comedy, I Love You, Man takes the “bromance” to new levels. The courtship here is not between a man and woman, but instead is a story about finding that perfect platonic friend. To guarantee that romanticism is not lost in this comedy, Peter participates in man dates with guys he meets over the Internet. There’s a natural progression in Peter’s trials of finding that perfect someone; it isn’t until he meets Sydney that we begin to truly embrace the bromance.
Sydney has a modest existence, living close to the Pacific. He doesn’t live beyond his means, favoring a small cottage house with a garage attachment that acts his own personal “Man Cave” where no girls are allowed. His toys include guitars, a drum set, flat-screen television, lounge seating and little odds and ends that play up his quirky personality.
Paul Rudd is an actor that I’ve slowly come to love. Call it a man crush if you must. I’d always enjoyed his work, but with last year’s Role Models and now I Love You, Man – both headlining comedies for Rudd – I see him as one of the preeminent comedians working in films today. His timing is just about perfect. And for a film like this, he’s able to play loose and casual when he’s with Segel, and be earnest in his scenes with Rashida Jones.
While plugging the film’s release, Jason Segel shared a story on how Brad Pitt turned around on the Oscar red carpet and said, “’Hey, the penis seen ’round the world!” referencing Segel’s full frontal nudity in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Segel responded with a simple, “Oh my God! It’s you!” When you’ve gone the Full Monty for the sake of getting laughs, nothing else can faze you. Here again, Segel is a slovenly, T-shirt-and-shorts (or sweat pants) guy and he’s comfortable with that. I’m beginning to think the wardrobe is from his own closet. Exiting the screening, I kept thinking about Rudd and Segel’s interactions and how I Love You, Man was an R-rated Odd Couple. Rudd is Jack Lemmon and Segel is Walter Matthau.
Just as he did with Along Came Polly, director John Hamburg fills out the cast with a nice mix of supporting players and one incredible cameo. J.K. Simmons, who just a few years ago fathered Juno, is Peter’s father. SNL alums Jane Curtain and Andy Samberg play his mother and gay brother. Jon Favreau and Jamie Pressly is a married couple dealing with their own marital woes. Lou Ferrigno plays himself, so references to his greatest claim to fame are foreseeable.
The interplay of Rudd and Segel may be the best moments, but this is still a damn funny comedy. The physical humor, the gross-out moments (not overplayed) and the dialogue that sometimes evolves into its own language. When I say I love this movie, I meant it. I laughed a lot and I think you will too.
FINAL RATING (ON A SCALE OF 1-5 BUCKETS):
Tags: Forgetting Sarah Marshall, J.K. Simmons, Jason Segel, Jon Favreau, Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones, Role Models, The Incredible Hulk