Movie Review by Neil Sadler
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, J K Simmons
Director: John Hamburg
Romantic comedies need to have two elements to satisfy an audience. Firstly you need to care enough about the couple in question and to want them to be a couple by the end of the movie. Secondly it needs to make you laugh.
In that respect, I LOVE YOU, MAN is both a conventional and ground-breaking romantic comedy. It satisfies the criteria of the genre but the couple in question here are not the boyfriend/girlfriend that we meet at the beginning of the film, but rather the boyfriend and his new best (male) friend. It is, essentially a gay love story without the “gay.”
So far so “I now pronounce you, Chuck and Larry!!!” (Please NO!!!)
Luckily, I LOVE YOU, MAN is smart, very funny and politically savvy. Although Seth Rogen wasn’t actually involved with this film, it definitely has the feel of one of his films. Like KNOCKED UP or SUPERBAD, this is about very modern relationships and has characters that we can recognise mixed with some nicely outrageous caricatures.
Paul Rudd is extremely likeable as shy, friendless, real estate agent, Peter Klaven. He embodies a very British sense of self awareness and reserve and it is this that leads to the tension between him and his bride to be.
When he meets and bonds with Sidney Fife (Jason Segel) a totally reconstructed bachelor and very much a “man’s man,” he begins to gain a confidence that both threatens his existing relationship, but also enriches many other areas of his life.
Jason Segel is just the right mix of charming and annoying that the character demands. He embodies the kind of male best friend that we secretly long for but know we shouldn’t really be friends with – especially when we are “settling down.” The easy charm that the two main leads embody makes their relationship very believable and we genuinely want their friendship to work. However the script also balances the relationship between Klaven and his fiancee, Rashida Jones and cleverly allows us to see the threat this “three-way” holds.
The supporting characters played by the likes of Jon Favreau, Jane Curtin and Jaime Pressley are all excellent – never over shadowing the leads but always memorable.
However the film may struggle to find an audience. Not gross enough or manly enough to attract the teen male crowd but also perhaps too male-orientated for the female “rom-com” crowd, I hope this film finds the audience it deserves. It is an intelligent, likeable comedy with surprising depth to it.