‘Man,’ this is one bro­man­tic joy ride

USA TODAY US Edition - - Movie Reviews -

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.

By Scott Garfield, Para­mount Pic­tures

Newbest friends for­ever: Sydney (Ja­son Segel, left) and Peter (Paul Rudd) for­man un­likely bond.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.