A newly engaged guy Peter (Paul Rudd) sets out to make a new best friend, Sydney (Jason Segel), to be the "Best Man" for his wedding. After setting out on some bizarre "man-dates," Peter befriends Sydney and the closer the two men get the more Peter's relationship suffers with his fiancee (Rashida Jones). This ultimately forces Peter to chose between his new best friend and his fiancee.
Though the trailer promises a barrage of scatological humour and sexual/fecal cross-referencing, the most shocking thing about John Hamburg’s I Love You, Man is that its not that shocking at all.
Hollywood is in love with the crude-yet-cuddly comedy of writer/director Judd Apatow of late, thanks to the 'money-talks’ mindset that kicks-in when films like his The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up strike it rich.
Apatow somehow missed the opportunity to be involved with I Love You, Man – a film very much cut from the same cloth as his past works. The central character is a decent but rather pathetic fellow (it’s been Steve Carell and Seth Rogen previously; here, it’s Apatow-alumni Paul Rudd, playing Peter Klaven, a vanilla-white boyfriend without the cojones to be a guy kind-of guy). With his wedding to fiancée Zooey (Rashida Jones) fast approaching, he needs a best man and sets out to find a new friend to play that role.
Cue the polar-opposite comic foil, Sydney Fife (another past Apatow grad, Jason Segel) who helps unleash the man in Peter – providing ample opportunity for various wacky interpretations of boozing, poker, gas and sex, all staples of the Apatow-inspired comedy. Sydney and Peter grow close and soon derive important life lessons from each other.
At this point, I won’t hold it against anyone if the description so far hasn’t exactly inspired you to make I Love You, Man your movie of choice this weekend. But there is a surprising sweetness to the film that begins to float to the surface at about the half way point (in much the same way that Knocked Up defied its boundary-pushing crudity to become utterly lovely). Rudd is a bonus as Peter – his likability and helplessness a familiar riff for fans of actors like Hugh Grant; Segel keeps the more obnoxious elements of the boorish Sydney in check – he could have very easily been an unbearable oaf but is more the confident young man with his own issues of loneliness. And, mirroring the casting skills of the best Apatow hits, Hamburg has peopled his support roles smartly – past and present Saturday Night Live stars (Jane Curtin, Andy Samberg), the always-reliable J.K. Simmons as the droll family patriarch and a hilarious cameo from television’s Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno.
Just as the Sex And The City girls have provided the female audience with a ballsy tell-it-like-it-is honesty that mirrors traditional real talk, I Love You, Man explores the emotional intricacies behind this years buzzword – bromance. The film is a microcosm of us all, guys – raucous, juvenile and puerile on the outside, but tender, sweet and vulnerable in our hearts.
Watch 'I Love You, Man'
Wednesday 20 January, 10:25pm on SBS VICELAND
Director: John Hamburg
Starring: Jason Segel, Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones, Jaime Pressly, Jon Favreau, Andy Samberg