March 23, 2009

Movie Review: I Love You, Man

iloveyouman3_largeI hate the term "bro-mance." There is just something about it that irks me. It gets under my skin. It makes the stomach flop. How else to say it? I understand what the term means. I understand how and why it is used. It is just one of those "buzz" words that just aggravates me. I am sure my disgust is unfounded, and I may be overstating it a little, but I think you understand where I am coming from. What does that have to do with I Love You, Man? Well, it is my belief that this is the first "official" bro-mance movie. Accepting this to be true, I have found my stance towards the word softening, ever so slightly, due to the movie being so good.

I Love You, Man definitely comes from the Judd Apatow camp of comedy film making. Ever since The 40-Year Old Virgin hit the big screen in 2005 there has been something of a renaissance of the R-rated comedy. A formula does seem to be emerging in the wake of all of these films, but it is one that is working. The trick is to find that balance between raunch and heart, letting the humor come out, but leaving room for genuine emotion. On top of that, you need to find those who have the ability to pull it off with a certain level of nuance. Believability in the face of unbelievable situations is a must. Let's face it, despite the seeming reality of the presented situation, it is not all that realistic, the key is to make the filmed reality real to the viewer. This movie succeeds at doing just that.

iloveyoumanpic11As we begin, Pete (Paul Rudd) has just proposed to his girlfriend, Zooey (Rashida Jones). She immediately gets on the phone and begins calling all of her friends to let the in on the big news; however, when it comes to him calling his friends, he is a little reluctant. It turns out he does not have anyone in the way of guy friends to share with. What follows is Pete's attempt to locate those of a similar sex. It proves to be a difficult task. Just how do you go about making friends?

Pete goes on the man-dating scene (casual lunch or after work drinks) and finds that it is not really working for him. Then he meets Sidney (Jason Segel), pretty much by accident. They hit it off and become fast friends. They do all sorts of things together. They jam in Sidney's "man-cave," they meet up for fish tacos, they even walk the dog together. All is done in a platonic manner, best friends growing together. Then trouble kicks in.

Since this is a romantic comedy, there have to be some romantic sequences, and there has to be a big fight that leads to a break up for the eventual climactic reunion. This has all the obligatory scenes, but they have such great humor, a genuine reality, and plays out in a believable manner.

iloveyoumanpic5Take your traditional rom-com and put two straight guys in the leads and that is what you have. It will make you laugh, it will touch your heart, and it will win you over. It will even make it all right to occasionally use the "bro-mance" term.

Paul Rudd and Jason Segel are a fine pair. Paul Rudd is easy to identify with as he struggles to find friends and attempt to appear "cool." He is effortlessly oblivious to his situation and funny in the process. Jason Segel, on the other hand, is the epitome of self-confidence, affording himself a level of freedom many of us only dream of.

The supporting cast is peppered with recognizable faces, all offering a little something to the tapestry. Jaime Pressly and Jon Favreau play an unhappily married couple. JK Simmons and Jane Curtin fill the roles of Pete's parents. Not to be left out is Lou Ferrigno, who plays himself, as a client of Pete's trying to sell his Hollywood mansion.

Bottomline. I do not see a future for large numbers of "bro-mance" features, this one certainly fills the bill. It will make you laugh, it will touch your heart, and make you long for a freedom you cannot conceivably have. This is filled with enough silliness to win anyone over. Do yourself a favor, see it.

Highly Recommended.


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