A simple tale of male bonding.
Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is a real estate agent in LA, happily engaged to Zooey (Rashida Jones) and working a major sale (Lou “Incredible Hulk” Ferrigno’s mansion) which he plans to use to finance his own dream project. One small problem – Peter realises that he has no best man for his wedding. This prompts a series of (frequently hilarious) man dates in search of a male best friend. Enter Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) – a smart, painfully honest, easy-going bachelor who embraces Peter’s desire to have male best friend.
Jason Segel’s introduction is superb. I, for one, know I wanted to be his friend. He portrays the kind of humour, intelligence, confidence and all-round suave-ness that makes every guy want to be him. His little bachelor pad in his garage, filled to the brim with guy stuff – guitars, a drum set, a big TV and AV system, beers and a masturbation station – is more than enough to make every guy in the audience grin in vicarious pleasure. Rudd is ever likeable as Peter, with Rashida Jones putting in a good performance too. Jamie Pressley is hilarious in her role as Zooey’s friend and husband of consummate asshole Barry (Jon Favreau). Lou Ferrigno has a great cameo as himself, introducing a nice element of slapstick into an otherwise down-to-earth affair.
There’s an awful lot to like about I Love You, Man. It’s funny, but never grandstands – think of Peter’s repeated pathetic attempts at dude-speak (“See you later, Joben!”). It’s more subtle and gentle than most of the comedy from the Apatow/Segel/Rudd world these days, and it thrives because of it. At the heart of it, I Love You, Man is not really about the jokes. It’s about the friendship: the type of friendship that we see in TV and films all the time, but that are almost never questioned or examined. The film is also about friends just doing friend stuff, like hanging out playing Rush songs or watching TV.
As funny and heartwarming as this film is, I really do feel that the males in the audience will come away with more from this film than the females. Films are built around groups of female friends all the time, but films are rarely built around male friendships in this way, and almost never are they the actual subject matter of the film; and I feel that I Love You, Man should be praised for doing so.
A hugely enjoyable film, well written and performed with plenty of laughs and an uplifting plot. A-.