movie thoughts: I Love You, Man (2009)

I love Team Apatow.  This new brand of comedic film that blends honest (some times crude) humor but with a good heart at its center has made for some of the best laughs in a good while.  ‘I Love You, Man’ is no exception. 

Pete (Paul Rudd) gets engaged to his girlfriend of eight months and slowly realizes that he has no close male friends.  Yeah, he knows lots of guys – the other real estate agent at the office, his fencing team…but none of them are really friends.  In an attempt to even things out, he goes in search of a friend.  But what he gets is a true Bromance.  Segel’s Sydney is a free spirit who doesn’t feel compelled to dowhat is expected of him while Rudd’s Pete likes to please other peopleand has spent his whole life trying to be good enough.

Warning: you must love Paul Rudd and Jason Segel for this movie to work because it is all about the two of them.  The writers manage to walk a fine line between too much and not believable when it comes to the interactions.    What could easily have become a movie about Pete becoming a “real man”, we find the “real men” (sport watchers, beer drinkers, hyper-competitive, muscle-bound) are portrayed as annoying (Jon Favreau is hilarious as the poker playing, beer drinking alpha male).  They are not evil people, but definitely not anything to aspire to.  And Syndey doesn’t try to change Rudd, but does work to give him more confidence.  And Rudd plays Pete with just the right amount of naivete that you can go along with some of his mistakes – mistakes that must happen to move the plot along but if played incorrectly could have been unforgivable.  Instead, you just shake your head and laugh. 

This movie is a great date movie, for every kind of relationship.  It’s nice to see a movie that portrays a friendship between two men without making them seem weak or that something is wrong with them.  They share their thoughts and feelings, and while it pokes fun at the conventions of the romantic comedy, it also shows that male relationships can have just as many layers as the more frequently portrayed female relationships. 

Go grab a friend or two, get some popcorn, and see this movie with a group so you can laugh out loud together.  At roughly 90 minutes, this movie gets everything right. 

(And while I have no desire to see a sequel, I do want to see more movies with Rudd and Segel teamed up together.  They compliment each other in more than just physical height).

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