A year ago, most people wouldn't have been able to tell you who Paul Rudd is, and certainly wouldn't have been able to pick Jason Segel out of a lineup. Skip ahead a year, and boy have things changed. Rudd and Segel, who had both worked together previously in supporting roles, got their big breaks in Role Models and Forgetting Sarah Marshall respectively - two of the funniest and most successful comedies of 2008, mind you - and now have the clout to be leading men for years to come. Their first follow-up: I Love You, Man.
I Love You, Man stars Rudd as Peter Klaven, a nice, soft-spoken guy who is about to be married to a woman who looks a lot like Jim's ex-girlfriend from "The Office," Rashida Jones. Peter just has one problem: he's been so absorbed with his girlfriends over the years that all of his guy friends have fell by the wayside, leaving him without a best man. With the encouragement of his fiancée, who sets out on a series of man-dates to meet such a friend. His searching eventually leads him to Sydney Fife, a rather blunt man's man who takes a liking to him. But as their relationship progresses and Peter discovers more about what it means to be a man, his upcoming marriage begins to look ominous.
Though Judd Apatow is not involved with the movie, his brand of humor and storytelling is clearly evident. I Love You, Man runs that same fine line as many of the comedies that have come out over recent years, delivering lots of funny, profanity laden lines while offering an otherwise believable and heartwarming love story. The result is, once again, a romantic comedy that will appeal to both men and women, because it's blisteringly funny and touching at the same time.
I Love You, Man is not as funny as Role Models, Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Rudd and Segel's other co-work, Knocked Up. It is, however, still funny and well worth seeing. Having watched it on opening night, I was treated to enjoying the film with hundreds of other moviegoers, including an obnoxious laugher who gave his overly hearty opinion every chance he could get. Him aside, it was clear that I Love You, Man delivered. Those who like "The Office" may also find similarities between Rudd's character and Michael Scott; there are some pretty painful, cringe-inducing moments scattered throughout.
I Love You, Man only struggles in a few parts, as the movie doesn't have the same tight plot as some of the other aforementioned titles in this review. Its loose approach does cause a few scenes to wander, and there are a couple stretches that don't really amount to much. Overall, I Love You, Man just doesn't have the some cohesiveness as one would expect.
Nevertheless, it is still a quality comedy that is easy to like. Rudd and Segel have good chemistry together and play off each other well; they're also supported by a great cast, including Jones, Andy Samberg, Jaime Pressly, J.K. Simmons, Jon Favreau and Thomas Lennon. Lennon, from "Reno 911" is especially funny.
I Love You, Man is not without its flaws, but it's another heartwarming, enjoyable and generally hilarious romantic comedy that has equal appeal to men and women, from the same crew that has brought us most of the great comedies over the last few years.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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