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Non-Review Review: I Love You, Man

There’s a lot of potantial here. Guys and their friends typically relate differently than girls and their friends. And nothing interferes with a wedding quite like a guy and his best friend – even if both the marriage and the relationship with the best friend are a great idea. The problem is that I Love You, Man doesn’t go anywhere with its interesting notion and it insists upon tackling the question of how the sexes relate in the most immature way possible. This is the bromantic equivalent of Sleepless in Seattle rather than Chasing Amy or (500) Days of Summer.

A scooter made for two...

A scooter made for two...

I really don’t know why it doesn’t work. One of these days Paul Rudd is going to prove himself the capable leading man we all know him to be – I don’t want him to remain a comedic Cary Elwes. Actually, scrap that. Seriously though, even ignoring the two leads who had a solid chemistry in their previous dalliance together (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), the film is bubbling over with supporting talent. And yet none of them really go anywhere or do anything of value. I’m looking at you in particular, J.K. Simmons.

The movie has a solid premise – the complexities of man-on-man hetrosexual relationships – but it has nothing of use to say about them. Hot Fuzz offered a much more detailed look at the buddy-buddy dynamic, even though it was focused mainly on the action movie facet of on screen manly relationships. Here we get two men who hang out, who support each other, who trade (a lot) of secrets, and who both refuse to grow up. It’s a tired formula hoisted upon an interesting concept with no new jokes to make. And it seems that instead of jokes it was just comfortable making crude sexual innuendos – I’ve got no problem with the discussion of sexuallity (especially comedically), but it doesn’t substitute for wit or heart. The film seems to have little or either.

Maybe I’m being too harsh. It wasn’t necessarily a bad film, just not a good one. For two actors who have enjoyed roles that play with the structure of romantic comedies, this just seems a very half-hearted straight-forward effort. Even the requisite “the two fight and break up but then they get back together at the last minute because they love each other” bit doesn’t show any hint of being skewed, it’s simply played straight. And it isn’t executed particularly well at all.

The two lead actors work as well as they can given the material, but there’s little for them to do but mime air guitar. Jason Segel is on the rise, but I still think that his lead role in Forgetting Srah Marshall will headline his filmography. I still kinda want to see Rudd in Role Models, because I like him as a supporting player, but I’ve seen little in his lead roles to excite me.

So, not absolutely terrible, but everyone involved is well capable of doing better. Especially those watching it.

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I Love You, Man is directed by John Hamberg (Along Came Polly) and stars Paul Rudd (The Object of my Affections, Knocked Up), Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever), Rashida Jones (The Office, Parks and Recreation), J.K. Simmons (Juno, Burn After Reading), Adam Samberg (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Hotrod), Jaime Pressly (My Name is Earl, Sin City), Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Swingers) and Jane Curtin (3rd Rock From the Sun). It was released in the US on 20th March 2009 and in the UK and Ireland a month later on 17th April 2009.

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