Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Film review: I Love You, Man

Cast: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones,
Director: John Hamburg
Country: USA

"I've been trying to meet someone" – Peter Klaven

There’s a word that rhymes with flick that ought to be substituted with chick when referring to the new breed of so-called ‘bromance’. Unfortunately despite a certain charm that matches the intellectual age of most men no one is going to adopt it due to the easily misconstrued nature of unsaid phrase. Course in the age of the metrosexual such crudities don’t always fly, but as we discover in I Love You, Man that doesn’t necessarily mean modern metroman and Neanderthal man aren’t compatible.

Handed the leading man keys is Paul Rudd along with Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s comedy revelation Jason Segel for what is essentially a wafer thin a spin on the old boy meets girl formula. In director John Hamburg’s world the boy already won the girl and is getting set to marry her, the trick is he doesn’t have a best man to complete the wedding day package. Cue pretty hilarious story of boy meets boy, boy loses boy… well, you get the picture.

Peter Klaven (Rudd) has always been more into girlfriends according to his more macho gay brother (played by Andy Samberg) who offers an odd contrast to Rudd’s camped up nice guy estate agent. There’s no reason given for this, but we accept it in the face of convention and perhaps see some commentary on the status of 21st Century American manhood where guys don’t belong to bowling teams anymore and are more likely be found sat on the couch with their better half eating ice cream and watching Atonement.

After setting out to find the ‘perfect best man’ during which we get the predictable faux pas’ involving cases of mistaken sexuality and ‘worst man date ever’ scenarios Peter meets Sydney Fife and it is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Sydney leads a bloke’s dream life with his dog in Venice Beach where his home includes a ‘man cave’, complete with full band rig, videogames, a bar, various memorabilia and a jerk off station. Sydney and Peter bond over their shared love of Rush and generally embark on a whirlwind bromantic affair that inevitable causes conflict at home for the groom to be.

With a gimmick this tenuous it takes two extremely talented and compelling leads to bring home the funny. With Rudd and Segel effortlessly riffing off each other so well that the script’s flimsier jokes and overplayed ones rarely eliciting much in the way of groans, I Love You, Man is better than any film of this sort has any right to be.

It’s a shame then that Hamburg fails to really nail the film’s more ‘traditional’ relationship between Peter and girlfriend Zooey, who is the film’s most short-changed character giving the talented Rashida Jones little to work with. It might be endearing to a fault and the film could do with loosing 15-minutes, but it would take a deeply cynical critic not to enjoy I Love You, Man.

I Love You, Man is released in Australia 23 April
This review also appears in 3D World magazine


Matt Riviera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Riviera said...

You've made me want to see this, even though I was at first very skeptical. Oh, and I think you've definitely coined the name for the genre, and I'm going to do everything in my power for it to catch on. Good one.

Scott Henderson said...

Hahaha, surely someone somewhere has already snagged that term... I now leave it to your capable words sir.