- Rated R
- Buy the BD
All photos © Paramount Pictures
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
he idea behind writer/director John Hamburg’s “I Love You, Man” was probably spawned from the same Hollywood meeting responsible for some of the worst films of the last few years. You could even envision a bunch of fortysomething blowhards sitting around a Starbucks sipping on Chai Lattes while they discuss the buzz worthiness of the term “bromance.” But for as manufactured as the story may seem, the film rises above all that to deliver the next great R-rated comedy. It might contain more chuckles than laugh-out-loud moments, but thanks to the incredible chemistry of its two leads, “I Love You, Man” stands as one of the best buddy comedies since “Swingers."
Paul Rudd stars as Peter Klaven, a real estate agent looking to close his first major deal (“The Incredible Hulk” star Lou Ferrigno’s mansion) and invest the money in a new property. He’s also just proposed to his girlfriend of eight months, Zooey (Rashida Jones), and when she expresses her concern that he won’t have a best man for the big day, Peter agrees to go on a series of man-dates in order to find himself a best friend. After having no luck on his outings, Peter is ready to give up when he meets Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) at his open house. The two immediately hit it off, and before long, they’re spending every day together. Zooey couldn’t be happier that her soon-to-be husband finally has a male friend to hang out with, but when the new bromance threatens Peter’s relationship with her, he’s forced to reassess his future.
“I Love You, Man” has all the markings of a Judd Apatow film (great characters, quotable dialogue, adult humor) without any of the expectations. Granted, its two stars have Apatow to thank for their recent careers, but it’s still nice to see someone other than him make a solid R-rated comedy. Then again, the very reason those movies worked as well as they did is because of the people involved, and without Jason Segel and Paul Rudd, “I Love You, Man” could have been a disaster. Segel only gets better with each new role (no doubt a result of the experience he’s earned working on “How I Met Your Mother”), while Rudd absolutely commands the movie as the charming comic lead.
Rashida Jones is also good but underused as every man’s dream fiancé, while the rest of the cast features some of the best comic actors working today. Andy Samberg offers some much needed depth to the character of Peter’s gay brother, while Jon Favreau and Jaime Pressly nearly steal the show as a couple whose marriage hinges on angry hate sex. Veterans like Jane Curtain and J.K. Simmons get about as much screen time as some of the other actors (including hilarious cameos from “The State” alumni Thomas Lennon and Joe Lo Truglio), but they make the film better nonetheless.
There are a few things about “I Love You, Man” (like Lou Ferrigno’s extended cameo or Peter’s habit of making up words) that aren’t as funny as they probably should be, but the rest of the movie is so spot-on that it hardly matters. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a movie about male bonding as good as this (“Sideways” comes to mind), and though the story is pretty formulaic, co-writers John Hamburg and Larry Levin do their best to keep it as fresh as possible. Of course, when you’ve got an ensemble cast as big and as talented as this, it’s not too difficult to see why the film is such a success. This is the romantic comedy that guys have been waiting for, and though your wife or girlfriend would probably be more than happy to tag along, why not treat your best pal instead?
Single-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
The special features on “I Love You, Man” are far from extraordinary, but it’s the level of quality that’s impressive. The audio commentary with director John Hamburg and stars Paul Rudd and Jason Segel is so enjoyable that you’ll forget you even have it on, while the making-of featurette evades the typical EPK structure by using interviews with the cast that actually tell you something about the film other than the characters they play. Also included is a series of alternate takes (think Judd Apatow’s Line-O-Rama feature), extended and deleted scenes, and an 11-minute (!) gag reel. It’s too bad the movie already ran a little long, because there’s some pretty funny stuff that never made the cut.