I Love You , Man
Throughout the coast of humanity’s existence much has been noted concerning the differences between men and women. Sure there are the obvious physical differences that we all are extremely glad about but the more interesting comparison is on the more subtle psychological level. Many of these differences are notable from early childhood and persists our entire lives. One of the most striking is the formation of friendships. For men this typically entails another guy to hang out with, have a couple of beers and watch a game. Women tend to become more emotionally invested in their close friend discussing intimate details of their lives. In the last few years there has been a blurring between traditional gender roles. In addition there has also been some exchange between straight and gay men. There is now a type of straight man commonly referred to as ‘metro sexual’ who exhibits the same meticulous care for personal care and appearance that was previously only associated with gay men. And offshoot of this trend is a shift in how men relate to other men. We know have the ‘bromance’; a platonic relationship between straight men that is more intense than regular buddies. This leads us to the introduction of a relatively new film genre; the bromantic comedy. The case in point here is the film ‘I love you, Man.’ I do have to admit that when I first received the screener I thought this was going to be just another slight variation of the standard rom-com established formula. Shortly into the movie I was pleasantly surprised to discover this film is witty, sharply written ell directed with extremely good acting. It is not another gimmick flick; it is a novel view on a usually hackney genre. The DVD for the film is distributed by Dreamworks Home Entertainment following a successful theatrical run where it opened at number two in the box office and readily recouped its budget. This is a near perfect date night movie but you also might get into it watching with the guys.
The script was written by a pair of talented writers; Larry Levin and John Hamburg. Levin has worked mostly on television with screenplays for series including ‘’Seinfeld’ and ‘Garry Shandling's Show.’ as well as two of the Dr. Doolittle franchise. Hamburg, who also directed, also worked on TV with cult favorite show like ‘Stella’ and ‘Undeclared’. The script here may on the surface appear to be a standard rom-com slightly re-tooled to a bromance premise. I’ve heard some remarks that site this as a negative but actually it work in favor of the film. This adds a subtle level of parody to the mix that greatly increases the entertainment factor. What matters most for a story like this is to provide a platform for the chemistry of the leads to shine through. In this case it refers to Paul Rudd and Jason Segel who have worked extremely well previously in ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall and ‘Knocked Up’. The screenplay here makes very good use of the way these two men interact while showing the on screen bromance as far from perfect. It is as clumsy and awkward as the tradition man-woman pairing depicted in every other romantic comedy ever made. This is a primary reason why this movie is so enjoyable. It takes a new, trendy concept and juxtaposes it against a traditional background.
As the director Hamburg exhibits a light touch here. He aptly avoids over directing trusting the talents of his cast to carry the film. Typically, a comedy that is completely dependent on a situation has to run that gag into the ground getting the most mileage possible. This movie is a showcase for two very funny comedians who have honed their timing down to near perfection. It does have its share of male oriented gross out sight gags and the requisite language, sexual inferences and juvenile gags for an ‘R’ rated comedy yet it comes across as funnier than any high school or frat guy flick in recent years. You might think that one departure from the regular romantic flick would be in at the end but this one does conclude at the altar. Even with a good deal of predictability present Hamburg still mangers to infuse a light hearted freshness to the proceeding. The story focuses on the protagonist Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) an upcoming real estate agent who has always seemed to have female friends instead of bonding with other guys. When he becomes engaged to Zooey Rice (Rashida Jones) it becomes obvious that there is no one suitable as a best man. When Peter over hears Zooey and her friends Hailey (Sarah Burns) and Denise (Jaime Pressly) discussing his dilemma he decides to go out and find a male best friend. Initially he turns to his gay younger brother Robbie (Andy Samberg) without much success. After several disastrous attempts at a few ‘man-dates’ he meets Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) at an open house. They immediately bond over the farts of another buying and go through the new ritual of exchanging business cards. When a loan enters the picture Peter breaks up with Sydney and becomes estranged with Zooey but all is set right before the closing credits.
The film is very funny even though it seems like a bizarre hybrid of ‘Lifetime’ and ‘Spike’ cable network. At least it is a date flick that will entertain both genders.