Review: I Love You, Man
PLOT: When Peter Klaven asked his girlfriend to be his bride, he finds that there is one thing missing in his life… a buddy to be his best man. While his family goads him on this fact, they decide to help him out and set him up on “man dates” to find the right guy to do the honors. After a ton of “wrong guy” evenings, Peter ends up meeting a unique fellow named Sydney Fife who doesn’t like to clean up after his dog and shares a love for all things Rush (the rock band). The two begin to form a bond which soon puts a strain on his own engagement, when Sydney starts taking up too much of the groom to be and his personal time.
Real Estate Agent Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) and his girlfriend Zooey (Rashida Jones) are about to take the big step After an incredibly romantic marriage proposal, Zooey happily says yes, and proceeds to share the news with several of her girlfriends via cell phone. It seems to be an easy pick for her when it comes to bridesmaids, but not so much for Peter and his need for a best man. Sadly, he has never been really close to any guy pals as he has always been “one of the gals” so to speak. Even when he shares his exciting news, it is with the girls in the office. One of the few guy friends he shares it with has very little interest in marriage, unless of course it means that he can sell more real estate than Peter. So there lies the dilemma, if you have always been a girls guy, how do you find a best man, let alone groomsmen? Well fortunately, Peter’s gay brother Robbie seems to have a way with straight men, and he teaches his brother the art of a “man date“. One that doesn’t involve going to see THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA.
Soon, we find ourselves in a bromantic comedy as Peter goes out on several dates trying to find the perfect friend. Everybody is willing to help, even his fiancé who sets him up with the husband of one of her girlfriends. The husband is played by Jon Faveau and he is not a match made in heaven for our hero. This is a nightmarish guys night out where Klaven attempts to do the manly thing, but fails miserably. Much of what could have been just another dumb comedy, is elevated by Mr. Rudd and even the supporting cast. I would easily use the term laugh out loud funny, as there were a few jokes I probably missed because you couldn’t hear them over an appreciative audience. Even when a joke falls flat, another one comes along that makes you forget about the missed opportunity.
While this story could have been ridiculously silly and unbelievable, director and co-writer John Hamberg bring an honest to goodness freshness to it. And the ridiculously good casting doesn’t hurt either. When Peter finds “the one”, a true dude among dudes named Sydney Fife (played by Jason Segel), they become a match made in bromantic heaven. While Rudd does teeter into Steve Carell mode in THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN a bit, it still works quite well aside from a couple of lapses. I liked the constant use of trying to come of with absurd nicknames for his new buddy, but it did grow old after awhile. Yet, with Rudd and Segel, they make it all work with an incredible chemistry between the two of them. I also found it an absolute pleasure to see Klaven’s parents played by the extremely talented J.K. Simmons and Jane Curtain. Both of these actors are so good together that it is a shame they couldn’t have been utilized more.
A good comedy has the ability to stay with you for awhile and force you to try and tell your friends about the hilarity that ensues. Usually, your re-telling fails miserably as you describe what was actually a laugh out loud moment. But with this film, the comic set pieces are so funny, you might even get a chuckle when sharing with others. When the two men meet at an open house that Klaven is running, the reason that Sydney Fife gives for going to that particular event is classic. I will never look at an open house the same way again. And before Peter meets Sydney, he finds a man with a deeper interest than he was looking for with Lonnie (Joe Lo Truglio). And yes, he claims that tongue was involved. I’d rather not give away too much about the exploits that go on because what is a good comedy worth if all the jokes are given away?
This simple story of best buds has enough smarts and wit to really stand out, with Segel and Rudd creating a very funny team. But I should also mention Rashida Jones. She could have easily been the dull character, but her absolutely glowing personality and warmth make it easy to see why Peter would do everything he could for her. And once his relationship with Sydney starts to become problematic for the engaged couple, you really do feel sorry for her. She is extremely lovely and also very talented. Again, this is really a marvelous cast that is given enough room to move and make I LOVE YOU, MAN, one of the best comedies so far this year. While it might be predictable and sometimes find itself repeating a joke or two once too often, it is still definitely a must see. My rating 8/10 -- JimmyO