I Love You, ‘Man’

By |2009-03-26T09:00:00-04:00March 26th, 2009|Entertainment|

Even straight guys need a man, as Peter Klaven (the loveable Paul Rudd), who needs groomsmen to stand up in his wedding, finds out in the hilariously homo-ish “I Love You, Man.”
The concept – guy-meeting-guy for platonic good times – is all a tad gay, and it definitely plays out that way as he peruses dating sites for some dude friends.
His gay brother (Andy Samberg), who’s actually far less fey and admits to pursuing straight men for a challenge, offers him help (and, in a pleasant twist, is actually dad’s token son), but most help is the Web, where Peter goes dude shopping.
Many “man-dates” later – including one that ends in a goodnight kiss – he stumbles upon Sydney Fife (Jason Segel of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), who’s also seeking penis-having pals to replace the ones he’s lost to marriage. Together, they go dog walking and have Rush jam sessions.
But when Peter’s pushed to butch it up, and talk recklessly about sex or anything that forces him to embrace his non-existent masculine side (the guy adores “The Devil Wears Prada” and Johnny Depp’s “Chocolat”) he’s embarrassingly bad.
He’s so delightfully dweeby, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time (like, “in a jiff”), giving his greetings an extra zippy kick and often looking as painfully flustered as I was in my sixth grade public speaking class. Which is why he rocks. And why we love him. And why I wouldn’t mind putting my … oh, nevermind.
In a long-deserved lead role after smaller stints playing gay in “The Object of My Affection” and the recent goofball-comedy “Role Models,” Rudd excels 100 percent, playing the awkward metrosexual-out with perfect comedic pacing and charm. His idiocy is uncomfortable to watch – painful even – but therein lies the humor of it all: A straight guy trying desperately to be straighter … and failing.
Together, with Segel, the odd couple complements each other like a two-piece Boyz II Men. How their relationship blossoms and what it’ll blossom into it – especially after Zooey (the underused Rashida Jones from “The Office”), Peter’s bride-to-be, grows suspiciously irritated – becomes a pivotal and slightly dramatic part of the film after Sydney asks Peter for thousands of dollars.
Writer-director John Hamburg (“Along Came Polly”) freshens the almost-stale bromantic comedy genre, offering up a very funny commentary on manliness and male bonding with natural tendencies toward humor. His bright supporting cast – including Samberg, Jaime Pressly and Jane Curtin and a barely recognizable Thomas Lennon (“Reno 911″‘s Lt. Dangle – clothed!) – shines, elevating their roles into our memory bank with lively dialogue and goofy physical humor.
Consistently laugh-a-minute, with Rudd and Segel triggering most of the gut-busting giggles and (thankfully!) few gross-out gags, “I Love You, Man” wants to be the cool chick flick that dudes won’t feel guilty going to – and it is. It’s the Judd Apatow movie without Judd Apatow. And a lengthy running time. And excessive vulgarities. And it’s also the best rom-com this year so far. It’s love at first sight … man. A-

About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
Chris Azzopardi is the Editorial Director of Pride Source Media Group and Q Syndicate, the national LGBTQ wire service. He has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, GQ and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.