Remember when making friends was as simple as throwing a ball around or playing hopscotch in the playground? It becomes harder to make those once simple connections as you get older and this is something that Peter Kraven (Paul Rudd) realises at the start of I Love You Man.
The film opens with Peter proposing to his girlfriend of 8 months, Zooey (Rashida Jones) and he soon realises that he has gone through life so far with not a single close male friend. He has always put his effort into relationships with women and he seems to be the perfect partner. What follows is a desperate attempt for Peter to find a male friend before his wedding, resulting in a series of mismatches, accidental dates and projectile vomiting in Jon Favreau’s face. Slapstick, physical humour abounds throughout but it never feels cheap. Sometimes it’s ok to laugh at people stepping in dog shit.
The two main stars of the show are Paul Rudd and Jason Segel but it’s definitely Segel (and the character of Sydney Fife) that really helps steer I Love You Man away from being yet another passable formulaic rom-com into a genuinely funny, original and heart-warming affair. I’m a big fan of Segel anyway, whatever role he takes he just seems to be so likeable. So it’s pretty fitting that he’s playing the friendly guy who we all want to be friends with!
It’s a rom-com but not in the traditional sense of the term. The opening scene cements the fact that our hero has already got the girl and they’re very happy by all accounts. Instead this is a story about the relationship between two bros and their various antics bro-ing out. A bro-com if you will… Peter is the slightly uptight, ‘proper’ gentleman of the two whereas Sydney is the outlandish rogue, complete with ‘masturbation station’ in his man cave. It’s in this man cave, the space that most men must dream of, that their relationship blossoms. They jam out, tell secrets and eat six foot long subs. They even go through the ‘break up’ that threatens the future of their relationship in the second act, complete with the handing over of each other possessions and the all important ‘Lost’ DVDs.
It’s interesting to see them both play out the same respective roles that we have come to expect in the traditional rom-coms but on a purely friendly level. It’s a film that makes you laugh, smile and truly feel for the main duo. It’s a shame however that Rashida Jones is reduced to the role of ‘the fiance’ as she doesn’t get an opportunity to really shine but then again, this is about the bros.
It’s a film you don’t have to think too hard about, just stick it on and enjoy. The perfect lazy Sunday movie.
I Love You Man is unapologetic in its slightly bizarre flavour of comedy but it will leave you feeling good and thoroughly entertained.
And what more could you ask for?