‘Man,’ this is one bromantic joy ride
You’ll recognize the type: a sweet and sensitive sort who has “always been a girlfriend guy.” No testosterone-laden, beer-swilling posse surrounding him, his friends have mostly been women. Plus, he gets along with hismom. Shemight even be his best friend.
Meet Peter, played likably by Paul Rudd in the funny, engaging bromantic comedy I Love You, Man.
Peter’s moderately metrosexual ways work just fine for his loving girlfriend, Zooey ( The Office’s Rashida Jones). He’s the kind of guy who’ll whip up rootbeer floats for Zooey and her gal pals, complete with chocolatecookie straws. And he’s not doing it just to score. He attests that one of the best nights of his life was sharing a “summer salad and a bottle of wine and watching Chocolat.”
He’s head over heels in love, but troubles arise after he asks Zooey tomarryhim.
While Zooey easily assembles a half-dozen of her closest friends as bridesmaids, Peter is hard-pressed to complete the wedding party with male buddies. His efforts to forge a lasting connection with a guy and find a suitable best man are the hilarious heart of the story. Amanhunt ensues. Peter does everything but advertise for a BFF.
The film starts off slowly, then hits its stride when Peter meets Sydney ( Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s Jason Segel.) At first glance, Sydneywould seemto be Peter’s polar opposite. Where Peter is slight, neat and clean-cut, Sydney is a gangly boho slob. Pe- ter is a devoted and faithful fiancé, while Sydney is on the hunt for lusty divorcées, seeking out events “repletewith cougars.”
Peter is responsible, a temperate drinker and a clueless poker player. Sydney is candid to the point of blunt, hot-tempered, and he refuses to clean up after his dog. This latter-day Felix and Os- car connect through theirmutual youthful love of the band Rush.
Much is made of Peter’s bumbling attempts at being cool, and Rudd pulls these moments off with a charming awkwardness. In an effort to seem like a fun dude, he blurts out awkward nicknames and cringingly inane expressions.
With its blend of sweet and raunchy, I Love You, Man has the familiar feel of a Judd Apatow film. But Apatow is not involved. Director John Hamburg has several notable co-screenwriting credits to his name, including Zoolander and Meet the Parents. (He also directed the less impressive Along Came Polly.)
There are ribald jokes and gross-out episodes, but the movie works because everything hinges on the camaraderie and undeniable chemistry between Rudd and Segel.
I Love You, Man’s light-hearted exploration of male bonding provides substantial fodder for humor, heightened by the inspired casting of two of the industry’s most appealing comic actors.
Newbest friends forever: Sydney (Jason Segel, left) and Peter (Paul Rudd) forman unlikely bond.