Peter asks his girlfriend Zooey to marry him only to realize he has no male friends to stand by him as best man at his wedding. After a number of horrible “man-dates” he meets Sydney, a man so over-the-top he begins to drive Peter’s life out of control.
Paul Rudd needs to star in more movies. This movie is proof, as if we needed it, that Paul Rudd is a bonafide movie star. We have always been able to enjoy his smaller roles in movies like Knocked Up and Wet Hot American Summer, but the guy can headline a movie and makes everything he does seem better.
In I Love You, Man, Rudd plays Peter, a guy who has no male friends. Even his gay brother (Adam Samberg) has more male friends, although he has ulterior motives. When the movie starts, Peter proposes to his girlfriend Zooey and then realizes he has no one to stand by his side as a best man. Actually, he overhears Zooey’s friends (led by a funny Jamie Pressly) saying how strange it is their best friend’s fiancée has no male friends.
Peter is hopelessly innocent when it comes to the ways of manhood. He is always the person who can stand by the water cooler with all the women at work and feel right at home but when he stands in a group of guys he becomes tongue tied and never knows what to say, usually coming across as a total loser. Played by Paul Rudd, Peter never comes across as pathetic, instead earning our sympathy, making us want his character to finally find that one guy who can be his best friend.
That man is Sydney, played with gusto by Jason Segel, who is everything Peter is not. However, what Sydney lacks is any semblance of couth. During Peter’s engagement party, he uses his speech to hint that Zooey should maybe give Peter a blow job, not to be a jerk but because he believes he is doing his friend a favor. He is the exact man Peter needs to break the barrier of manhood but Peter is the man Sydney needs to reign himself in to a slight state of normalcy.
The movie is a romantic comedy where the leads are two men, and the romance is completely platonic. Bromance is a word that has started to carry bad connotations because it has grown generic and is being overused. However, in I Love You, Man, thanks to the leads, the plot works wonderfully. The men are perfect for each other, not only sharing a love for Rush, but being the Ying for the other man’s Yang.
The supporting cast includes great additions including J.K. Simmons, Jane Curtin, Jon Favreau, The State alumni Joe Lo Truglio and Thomas Lennon, Rush and a great cameo from Lou Ferrigno. Everyone carries their own weight and all are funny in their own rights. I am starting to believe Simmons is Gold in every movie, regardless of quality. Luckily for him, this is one opportunity where his quality is matched by that of the film.
The entire story could have fallen down around them if the plot had retained the generic rom-com structure. In much the same manner of Judd Apatow movies (which this was not one), the movie gives us likeable characters in real-life situations allowing us, the audience, to relate. Luckily director John Hamburg did not use the heavy hand we have grown accustomed to over time and it ends up as a light, wonderful story. There should be more movies like this and Paul Rudd should be the lead in another movie as soon as possible.
The first feature is an audio-commentary track with director John Hamburg and actors Paul Rudd and Jason Siegel. It is a great listen because, obviously, the three men involved are all very funny. Hamburg leads the talk but Rudd and Siegel play off each other well. There is a making of track that is pretty much a generic talk track with the actors talking about their characters. Highlights include Lou Ferrigmo and Jon Favreau clips. It clocks in at about 17 minutes in length.
The next few features are pretty much the same with different names. “Extras” is nine improvs and ad-libs and are in all the places you would expect (Siegel’s reaction to getting hit with the golf ball, Paul Rudd being a dork, the dinner with Doug). There are six extended scenes, three deleted scenes (gay bowling league!!!!) and an eleven minute gag reel. Most of the extras are there to add humor and it works.