Rated R for pervasive language, including crude and sexual references, 111 minutes
Fun "I Love You, Man" slaps the bass and takes aim at platonic male friendships
"I Love You, Man" may present a new genre in film - the dude comedy. This one about a guy needing some friends for his upcoming nuptials kicks the spring movie season off in high gear. A crude comedy but not overly low-brow, it's an entertaining look at the workings of platonic male friendships. The story is utterly, thin and predictable, but the winning, game leads overcome the script's shortcomings to provide some memorably funny moments.
A newly engaged guy and real estate agent named Peter (Paul Rudd) realizes he's in need of some close friends after seeing his beautiful fiancee Zooey ("The Office's" Rashida Jones) with all her pals. After some bizarre "man dates," he runs into the laid-back, self-employed and slackerish Sydney (Jason Segel) at an open house. Their conversation leads to more hanging out and the two become close pals. But the dude friendship runs into problems when his relationship with Zooey suffers. Now he must choose between the well-meaning Sydney or his hot fiancee.
"I Love You, Man" is a dude comedy with a heart and wins you over in spite of its dervivative story. It doesn't uncover any earth-shattering revelations about male friendships (sorry, ladies) but it sure is fun to watch. Rudd, who's morphed into a solid comic actor, plays another variation of the straight-laced guys he's so adept at. Peter is truly uncomfortable in making friends with guys, and tries his best to find a nickname for his new pal Sydney after Sydney calls him "Pistol Pete."
It also helps that Rudd has a comfortable chemistry with "How I Met Your Mother's" Segel, this being their third comedy together after "Knocked Up" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." Memorable scenes: Segel trying to get Rudd to pretend to be James Bond when trying on a tux for his wedding and Segel getting into a fight with the Hulk himself - Lou Ferrigno. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention they get a chance to rock out at a Rush concert together. (Rudd's take on "slapping the bass" will also elicit some chuckles too.)
Director and co-writer John Hamburg adds some humorous touches - such as Peter's younger, gay brother (Andy Samburg) trying to help him out - not to mention trying to get help from his fiancee's cynical friends, sturdy supporting players Jaime Pressley and Jon Favreau. Though not overly crude, there are many sex jokes ("this is my masturbation chair" says Segel) along with a vomit scene that most will remember. Also nice seeing "Saturday Night Live" vet Jane Curtain as Peter's high-strung mother.
The movie strides along through these various episodes as our game leads generate some genuine laughs, but Hamburg's story is too predictable and really adds nothing new about male friendships, except that they should probably occur naturally, if not they're too weird - or gay. There's plenty of fun individual scenes that make "I Love You, Man" one of the more winning, entertaining comedies of late, even though it's the leads and not the story that lift it a notch above mediocre, and that isn't too bad.