Saturday, March 14, 2009

'I Love You, Man' is a Charming Bromance

On Thursday I had the opportunity to see a screening of 'I Love You, Man' with my girlfriend.  I hadn't seen any advertisements for the movie, nor had I heard anything about it from anyone other than her.  It turned out to be what 'Role Models' was to me; an understated Paul Rudd comedy that far exceeded expectations.

Paul Rudd is Peter Klaven, a reserved 30 something real estate agent who's lived his whole life without any close guy friends.  When Peter overhears his fiancé Zooey (Rashida Jones) venting concerns that he won't even have a best man at their wedding, he sets out on a series of man-dates to court a male friend in time to walk down the aisle.  At an open house Peter meets Sydney (Jason Segel), a not so grown up investment banker with little barrier between what he thinks and what he says.  Peter and Sydney start to spend a lot of time together, and Zooey is generally happy for him, but eventually conflict arises between Peter the boyfriend and Peter the bro-friend, and he's forced to choose between the two.

A large part of the beginning of the film is used to introduce and relate the main characters to one another.  The investment pays off, and the transition from character development to purely humorous interaction is seamless.  Rudd's straight-laced Peter gets funnier and funnier as he opens up.  The audience is taken for a ride with Peter as he discovers more about Sydney, and as they bond over strolls on the beach, 'Rush' cover jam sessions, and confrontations with body builders, we discover that the young at heart Sydney needs Peter as much as Peter needs him.

Along the way, Rudd gets major laughs for his pitiful attempts at bro-speak.  His character's painful struggle with making a nick-name for his new friend are extremely awkward and goofy, and hard not to laugh at.  There's little drama to detract from the humor.  Most of the conflict in this movie is between Peter and himself.  

The movie plays out like a romantic comedy.  As if a tip of the hat to 'Roman Holiday', they zip around southern California on a Vespa, Segel being a disarming Gregory Peck to Rudd's uptight Audrey Hepburn.  The predictability of the storyline is easily forgivable because of the level of empathy that is galvanized for these hilarious characters.

'I Love You, Man' keeps the drama light and focuses its laughs on Rudd's awkwardness and potty humor peppered by Segel throughout the movie.  See this charming film for unexpected laughs.


Ozkirbas said...

I'm gonna have to read your review after I see the movie. I'm very excited, given the first paragraph. Role Models WAS a surprisingly delightful movie and if this has that plus Jason Segel... I think it's needless for me to continue

B.Graham said...

Saw it the other night. Loved. It. Yes.