“I Love You, Man” stars Paul Rudd as a guy who, after finding the girl of his dreams, sets out in search of a perfect guy to match. Rudd plays Peter Klaven, a recently engaged real estate agent who lacks the ability to make any real male friends. He has acquaintances and work friends, sure, but no one true “bro-mance,” so to speak. This never bothers Klaven, until one night he overhears his new fiancé (Rashida Jones) and her friends mocking him for it.
This event, and the awkwardness that follows, sparks Klaven’s quest to find some guy friends.
The problem is that he has no clue about how to interact with other guys, often suffering from truly cringe-inducing bouts of verbal diarrhea.
“I Love You, Man” is full of these sorts of uncomfortable moments. So much so that Jones probably felt right at home on set, seeing as though her previous employer, “The Office,” thrives on this type of humor. At times, it almost becomes too much to bear, as the filmmakers squeeze every last squirm-inducing second out of a scene.
With a less talented cast, this might not work, but the leads in “I Love You, Man,” are just so likable that it’s easy to forgive their odd quirks.
Its very premise relies on the audience believing that not only could a grown man be as socially inept as Klaven is, but that he would go to such extreme lengths as having his mom set up a “man- date” for him. Without an anchor like Rudd, who has become the ultimate comedic everyman in recent years, the movie probably wouldn’t have worked.
Things really get going when Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) walks into an open house that Klaven is hosting. The house that he is trying to sell, by the way, just happens to belong to “The Incredible Hulk” himself, Lou Ferrigno.
Needless to say, its “guy-love” at first sight, to borrow a phrase from “Scrubs.”
Fife seems to be everything that Klaven isn’t. He’s fun, cool, and completely untethered, choosing one night stands over committed relationships. He even has his own man cave.
At one point in the movie, Fife talks to Klaven about “what it means to be a guy,” and for a split second, he seems to be channeling Tyler Durden from “Fight Club.” If Tyler Durden wore Ugg boots and loved the band Rush, that is.
Segel, who broke into the mainstream with 2008’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” proves once again that he is no comedic lightweight. He adds the prefect amounts of arrested development and machismo to the part, as he tries to liberate Klaven from the shackles of mainstream suburban society.
The film’s supporting cast is just as strong as its leads. J.K. Simmons (of “Spider-man” and “Juno” fame) portrays yet another stern but well-intentioned father, and he does it perfectly. And then there’s John Favreau, who seems to be out to prove that he’s Hollywood’s ultimate utility player. After directing one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters (“Iron Man”), Favreau seamlessly transitions back to being in front of the camera, as he returns to his comedy roots. His role his small, but he more then makes the most out of it.
Director John Hamburg, working off a script that he co-wrote with Larry Levin, does a solid job with his first feature film since 2004’s “Along Came Polly.” He also happens to be very familiar with Segel’s brand of humor, as the two worked together before on the short lived, Judd Apatow-produced TV series “Undeclared.” He utilizes this history to his upmost advantage.
If there’s anything bad to be said about “I Love You, Man,” it’s that it is too short. The film’s last act breezes along entirely too quickly, leaving some minor plot points unanswered. That said, it never stops being funny. In fact, some of the best laughs in the movie come after the filmmakers seem content to let the story wind itself down.
Perhaps they were hoping to avoid the typical criticism levied at other recent comedies: funny but too long. Whether that’s true or not, (usually true on the first part and false on the second) perhaps it’s for the best that “I Love You, Man” doesn’t hang around long enough to wear out its welcome.
After all wasn’t it Walt Disney who said: “always leave the audience wanting more?” That’s something “I Love You, Man” does in all the best ways.
Colin McGlinchey is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He can be reached CM646588@wcupa.edu.