Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Love You, Man movie review

This 2009 buddy comedy stars Paul Rudd and Jason Segel (who were last seen together in Knocked Up and the highly underrated Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and is directed by John Hamburg, who is traditionally a tv show director, although he did direct one film, Along Came Polly- however he is best known as a screenwriter, co-writing many films with long time bud Ben Stiller with Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers and the ultimate in comedy Zoolander, so the guy known’s his comedy. Rudd stars as Peter Klaven a real-estate agent who is about to get married to his live-in girlfriend Zooey (played by Rashida Jones). However it turns out that Peter has always been more interested in cultivating his relationships rather than his friendships and doesn’t have any male friends to be his best man. Saddened and feeling a little bit awkward about this he sets on a series “man-dates” in order to find a new bff. Right when it looks like all hope is lost, in walks Sydney Fife (played by Jason Segel), and the two instantly click. Has Peter found the bff to shame all other male bff’s, or is three really too big of a crowd?

We saw this film at a screening about 2 weeks ago. The screening we attended was hell on life. A lot of people showed up, a lot of critics and there was a terrible mess of communication. But beyond the hell that was the screening, what did I think of the film?

I love this film. I mean it’s not the benchmark to end all comedies, but it’s funny and entertaining as hell. I mean it takes the romantic comedy genre and flips it on its head. Sure, it’s one long gay joke, but the joke is done well. I mean there are great one-liners, a lot of seat scrumming awkward moments. One of the central plots is that Paul Rudd’s character is trying to sell Lou Ferrigno’s house. And people keep calling him the Hulk, like “come on Hulk, what’re you going to do.” And he’s like, “hey I’m a person, not just the Hulk.” I just find that absolutely hilarious. It’s hard to choose my favorite moment since this film is really a series of one-liners, moving from scene to scene and some people may not like it for those reasons, but for me, I just found the whole movie a blast and the theater we were at seemed to love it as well since the laughter didn’t die down from start to finish.

This film will feel like you’re watching a Judd Apatow film, as was evident with last year’s Role Models, regardless if there is any involvement of Apatow with the film, you can create a film that feels like it’s part of his oeuvre. Perhaps that’s the new state of comedies, eventually they’ll all look like Apatow films, but at least for me, right now, I love them. So yeah, while Apatow has nothing to do with this film, it bears all his trademarks, boyish man-child’s, gross out comedy, the woes of relationships, the loneliness of its main characters, hot women loving wimpy guys. So yeah I Love You, Man falls into a lot of recent clich├ęs, but it’s still damn enjoyable.

However the downside to this movie is that there are a lot of characters, but none of them get fleshed out, as they seemingly come in to say one-liners and then leave. And that leads me to one of the major problems I, and I’m sure many people who watched this film will have. The whole movie is essentially the relationship between Peter and Sydney, as they grow closer together and learn things about one another. However, Sydney’s character is never fleshed out. There is no backstory for who he is, at one point you think he may not be who he says he is and it’s all an act, but then that’s thrown to the waste side. He never invites Peter into his actual house and you think maybe it’s because he’s a loser, but they never explain the reasoning. It’s just like, yeah, they don’t explain anything about Segel. You can see some of his motives, but I mean is he a good guy, who is he, why is he, all that and more is unexplained. So while we see so much about who Peter is, the person who shares half the movie with him Sydney, we don’t learn anything about, and I found that really frustrating. I just don’t get it.

I love the running gag that whenever Paul Rudd’s character uses an accent he always sounds like a leprechaun, regardless if it’s a Spanish, Jamaican or whatever accent, it’s leprechaun. Loved it.

So in the end what rating do I give this film? Like I said before, the film does have its faults, but I think the overall flow of the comedy and the hilariousness of two grown men getting closer and closer to becoming BFF’s is something that will appeal to a lot of people and will make even the most jaded of BFF’s smile. It never feels contrived, never falling for the easy dramatic moments and I commend the filmmakers for that. So I give this film a, “bring your lunch from home because you do not want to miss this one” rating. Standout comedy with some truly standout moments.


eduardo said...

Isn't Segel doing the next Muppets movie?

Cinema Cafe Podcast said...

Hi Eduardo,

Yes Segel is co-writing the next Muppets movie with Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nick Stoller. It's been 19 years since the last Muppet movie so I wait with anxious enthusiasm.