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Monday, April 27, 2009

I Love You, Man

Rated: R for pervasive language, including crude and sexual references
Runtime: 1 min 40 secs
Genre: Comedies
Theatrical Release:Mar 20, 2009 Wide
Box Office: $58,865,219
Review :
I Love You, Man operates within serious highs and lows. When this movie is funny it’s really funny, but when the jokes aren’t rolling it hits rock bottom.
This isn’t necessarily a problem for the first half of the film or so, but there comes a point where you hope it will get out of its funk and gain a bit of consistency, but it never does.

It’s an R-rated comedy directed by John Hamburg who found some success with Along Came Polly back in 2004, but I just can’t be sure if I Love You, Man will follow suit despite the caliber of comedic stars and its harder edged comedic tone.
I would say my biggest issue is with Paul Rudd who plays Peter Klaven, a man about to get married who has no real male friends and is encouraged by Zooey (Rashida Jones from NBC’s “The Office”), his finace, and family to spread his wings (after all, he needs a best man). The problem comes about when I can’t tell if Rudd has always been this boring as an actor and I just didn’t recognize it, if it’s just his character that bores me or if he just can’t carry a lead role when the story relies on him doing more than delivering one-liners.

Much like in Role Models, Rudd is more of the straight-laced character whereas the guy he befriends, Sydney (played by Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s Jason Segel), is the crazier of the two, much like how Seann William Scott was the crazy guy in Role Models. The difference here being the two never find much of a cohesive friendship — despite the movie implying they have — and Rudd’s character’s tendency to be the ho-hum life of the party drags the film down between punch lines.
Jason Segel serves as the straight-forward attempt at getting the audience to laugh as every moment he is on screen is dedicated to getting you to chuckle at or with him. Segel’s character, for all intents and purposes, sort of came off as a fraud to me and I fully expected that to be the film’s turning point and when it wasn’t there was a brief glimmer of hope, which was soon dashed when the alternative was just as boring as Peter.
However, contradicting Peter’s disturbing life routine he is fortunate enough to be marrying someone as fantastic as Zooey. Rashida Jones is so cute, she seems almost too good to be true and she creates a character equally charming. Why Zooey would decide on such a dud as Peter is beyond me. Andy Samberg plays Peter’s gay gym-trainer brother and is good for a few laughs as Samberg eats up each scene he is in and would have likely been a better character to focus on than the route this story went. The loud mouth couple played by Jamie Pressly and Jon Favreau is an excellent addition, but the joke there soon runs out as Hamburg goes to the well one too many times, something he seemed to do consistently throughout this film.
I Love You, Man isn’t a bad film, it just isn’t much of a good one. It has some extremely funny moments, most of the time dealing with scenes where both sexes are involved outside of the typical rude humor accessed when Rudd and Segel are sharing scenes alone. The film could have benefit severely by shaking things up and not relying on the same old tricks we have seen in other films of its ilk, and most notably making its lead character a little more accessible, something Judd Apatow films are best at and an easy way to distinguish this one from the Apatow filmography. Rudd’s character is such a bore that by the time the film is over you are surprised anyone would have a dedicated interest in marrying him, let alone calling him a best friend after only a few months.

After years of swiping scenes from the leading men in such movies as KNOCKED UP and THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, Paul Rudd finally headlines a star vehicle of his own. Unlike those Judd Apatow... After years of swiping scenes from the leading men in such movies as KNOCKED UP and THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN, Paul Rudd finally headlines a star vehicle of his own. Unlike those Judd Apatow productions, it's John Hamburg (ALONG CAME POLLY) who directs I LOVE YOU, MAN, albeit with many of the touchstones of Apatow's highly successful freaks-and-geeks-with-heart aesthetic. In other words, this is not an Apatow film, but, with the male capacity for--and simultaneous inability to express--fraternal love as its core comic conceit (and emotional centerpiece), it may as well be. Rudd plays Peter Klaven, a real estate agent with a blossoming career and an imminent marriage to Zooey (THE OFFICE's Rashida Jones)--basically, he's lucky in all things except male bonding. The narrative arc centers on his quest for platonic man-love--as opposed to, say, finding the girl of his dreams--and follows the boilerplate dictates of a standard rom-com with a subversive wink. In this case, boy meets boy, boys bond over their common love of Rush and Andre the Giant, boys break up and make up, etc. Rudd and co-star Jason Segel (FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL), a fellow Apatow alum who plays Sydney Fife, the Type B object of Klaven's affection, imbue their roles with winning charisma and elevate the plot with real and nuanced chemistry. With a whip-smart pace, the film continually tills fresh comic ground as Hamburg finds punctuation points in every scene and never lets a gag overstay its welcome. While the supporting cast features many memorable turns by the likes of Jon Favreau, Jaime Pressly, and Andy Samberg, I LOVE YOU, MAN ultimately belongs to Rudd, who approaches insecurity and social awkwardness with the same dead-eye marksmanship that Peter Sellers did for slapstick.

Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, J.K. Simmons, Jane Curtin, Jon Favreau, Jaime Pressly, Lou Ferrigno Director: John Hamburg Screenwriter: John Hamburg Story: Larry Levin, John Hamburg Producer: Donald De Line, John Hamburg Composer: Theodore Shapiro Studio: Paramount Pictures



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