I Love You, Man is one of those comedies that you sit in the theatre, don’t laugh too hard at but smile a lot, walk out of theatre, remember a couple of scenes that made you laugh, and forget about a day later. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but deep down you wish it could have been better.
Brief plot summary – Paul Rudd and Jason Segel star in the story of a man [Rudd] who gets engaged, but doesn’t have any male friends to be his best man, so he goes on the hunt for a new male best friend, where after some comedic encounters, he ends up meeting a cool guy [Segel]. Simple premise, and I must say it sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t.
Paul Rudd and Jason Segel are excellent as always, and the two of them have good chemistry together. Rudd plays a “nice guy” character, who is a little introverted, and can never ever say the cool thing. This is best exemplified in a nice scene where the two are jamming in Segel’s garage, and Segel wants him to rock out. Segel rips his shirt open, while Rudd unbuttons the top button of his shirt. Rudd tries to come up with nicknames for people, or make witty comebacks all the time, but they all suck, and some good laughs come from him knowing how bad his lines are. Jason Segel is the extrovert, and he doesn’t care at all what people think of him. When he invites people over, he doesn’t care what people think of him, and is even proud to show off where he masturbates. It’s a good character, and a nice follow up role for him after Forgetting Sarah Marshall. So the leads are good.
The supporting characters don’t really stand out, and there is a subplot with Lou Ferrigno [TV’s The Incredbile Hulk] which is more amusing than funny. Rashida Jones plays the fiancée, and although I’m a fan of hers from her brief time on “The Office”, her character predictably goes through the arc of wanting Rudd to find a best friend, and then pouting about how much time the guys spend together, leading to the fight between Rudd and Jones, and the reconciliation. Don’t get upset that I spoil that plot point. It should be pretty easy to figure out the ending. Jon Favreau is the strongest of the supporting characters because his character is a jerk. Favreau usually fights with his wife, then relents, but always makes her promise to have sex with him. He also hates Rudd a lot, so there’s some good tension when they are on the screen together. Andy Samberg, Jaime Pressly, and J.K. Simmons round out the supporting cast, but do not have a lot of screentime. So the B-Story is only so-so [It takes a talent to start and end a sentence with the same word, if I do say so myself].
I do have a complaint, in that they recycled a story line from another Paul Rudd film – Role Models. Role Models heavily promotes Kiss, and I Love You, Man heavily promotes Rush. For fans of Rush, they do appear in the film, and I’m not complaining about their music. Both movies make their bands sound cool, and hopefully younger audiences get inspired to buy some of their albums. It just seemed like a recycled idea, and it seems too obvious because it was in another Paul Rudd film. Not just another Paul Rudd film, his most recent film. To me that is just lazy screenwriting.
I’m happy to say that not all the laughs are in the trailer. There is one sequence, the only gross-out sequence in the movie, that made me laugh out loud, because I did not see it happening at all. It’s already circulating the internet, so look it up if you’re interested. The dialogue is rude, and funny, and there are a lot of awkward laughs at Rudd’s expense because of his stupid comebacks and nicknames. The term “Slappin’ The Bass” might become a catchphrase, as there is a running joke about Rudd playing bass guitar. There’s another running joke for Rudd where all his impressions sound like he’s a leprechaun. Both are funny to start, but lose their luster near the end, because they are used too much.
The music in the film does not stand out [except for the Rush sequences], and the cinematography was average. No great camera shots or scenes that stand out in my mind. The editing is never intrusive, and the screenplay could have gone through another re-write. I think there is a better film with this material waiting to be made. The film is happy with being average, and I give it credit in that it made me laugh out loud a couple of times, and smile a lot. It’s pretty short at around 90 minutes, so it does not overstay its welcome. It’s content with being what it is, and I was content with what I saw. Although sometimes, it’s better to really love or really hate a film rather than just being content.
I give this film 3 stars out of 5 stars.
I Love You, Man opens in theatres on March 20th